CDC updates swine flu count
ATLANTA The number of confirmed swine flu cases in the United States now totals 109, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated in an update released Thursday morning. South Carolina has added 10 cases to the tally, brining the number of states affected to 11.
The state-by-state count so far includes Arizona (1), California (14), Indiana (1), Kansas (2), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (1), Nevada (1), New York (50), Ohio (1), South Carolina (10) and Texas (26), with one confirmed swine flu death in Texas.
“In response to an intensifying outbreak in the United States and internationally caused by a new influenza virus of swine origin, the World Health Organization raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 5 on April 29, 2009,” the CDC stated. A Phase 5 alert is a “strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.”
CDC’s Division of the Strategic National Stockpile continues to send antiviral drugs, personal protective equipment and respiratory protection devices to all 50 states and U.S. territories to help them respond to the outbreak, the agency stated. The swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is susceptible to the prescription antiviral drugs Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir).
In addition, the federal government and manufacturers have begun the process of developing a vaccine against this new virus, CDC stated.
NAD recommends halt of Claritin ‘RediTabs’ broadcast ads
NEW YORK The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on Monday recommended that Schering-Plough, maker of the over-the-counter allergy medication Claritin “RediTabs,” discontinue broadcast advertising that features high-speed raceway images.
NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined broadcast advertising for the product following a challenge by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the maker of competing OTC allergy medications Benadryl and Zyrtec.
NAD considered whether the race car imagery and narration in the commercial imply that Claritin RediTabs OTC provides the fastest relief of allergy symptoms.
The challenged advertising features NASCAR racecars running a track as Carl Edwards, a well-known NASCAR driver, appears and explains that “speed is important” to him and that when his allergies hit, he uses Claritin RediTabs, “the fastest dissolving allergy medicine.” A statement that “Speed of dissolution does not imply speed of relief” appears simultaneously on the screen.
Following its review of the evidence, including a consumer perception survey provided by the challenger, NAD determined one reasonable takeaway from the commercial is that RediTabs provides very fast or instantaneous relief of allergy symptoms in comparison to competing allergy medicines. Further, NAD determined that the disclosure “Speed of dissolution does not imply speed of relief” contradicted, rather than limited, the main message of very fast or instantaneous allergy relief.
NAD recommended that the commercial be permanently discontinued and that future advertising avoid imagery and claims that imply that Claritin RediTabs provide very fast or instantaneous allergy relief.
Schering-Plough, in its advertiser’s statement, said it that while the company did not intend to convey a claim of instant relief, it “greatly respects NAD and the NAD process and will take this decision into account in crafting its future advertisements.”
McKesson appoints chief technology officer
SAN FRANCISCO A McKesson executive is moving up the ranks.
McKesson Corp. announced that Randy Spratt, EVP and CIO, has been promoted to the newly-created position of chief technology officer, while retaining his responsibilities as the company’s CIO.
As chief technology officer, Spratt will guide the overall technology direction for the company’s healthcare technology products, and provide support and guidance for application development processes companywide. The position will serve as a support arm to the management teams within McKesson’s technology businesses, working collaboratively with each business to optimize the quality, interoperability, and transparency of McKesson’s software development operations.
“As our healthcare system increasingly looks to technology to improve both the quality and efficiency of care delivery, we see a tremendous opportunity to accelerate our progress in providing integrated, interoperable technology solutions,” said John Hammergren, chairman and CEO of McKesson. “Randy has an outstanding track record in establishing processes that have streamlined how we plan, build and deploy our technologies internally, and I am confident that he can apply the same level of focused guidance to the development and deployment of our customer-facing solutions. At McKesson we are committed to ensuring the highest levels of customer satisfaction and to delivering a high return on investment for our customers. This decision will support world class results in both areas.”
Spratt has served as McKesson’s CIO since 2005, with responsibility for all internal technology initiatives within the Corporation. Spratt has been with McKesson for more than 18 years, most recently as chief process officer for McKesson Provider Technologies, the company’s medical software and services division based in Alpharetta, Ga.
“I am excited to be involved in the product side of our business again, and I am looking forward to working with the leaders of our software development businesses to establish broad technology plans, improve interoperability of our technology solutions, and optimize our development processes and activities,” said Spratt. “We are committed to developing best-in-class, integrated solutions that improve our customers’ business and clinical performance, and provide a more connected healthcare system that benefits us all.”