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CVS study: Flu shot myths put many people at risk

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Consumers may be concerned about picking up germs, but flu shot misconceptions are standing in the way of many consumers doing all they can to protect themselves and their loved ones, according to a recent CVS/pharmacy survey.

"It’s always important to wash your hands frequently with soap and water, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze, and avoid contact with those who are sick. But the No. 1 thing you can do to prevent the flu is get a flu shot," stated Papatya Tankut, VP pharmacy professional services for CVS/pharmacy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that anyone ages 6 months or older should get a flu shot, including those who were vaccinated last flu season. Despite this recommendation, 42% of respondents are not planning on getting a flu shot this year.

Everyday preventive actions, such as hand-washing, can stop the spread of germs, yet are not always practiced. Although nearly all respondents (99%) said they almost always wash their hands after using a restroom, only 70% do so after blowing their nose. Seventy-six percent of respondents have gone to work with cold- or flu-like symptoms.

Misinformation about flu shots may contribute to the number of people who do not get vaccinated. The CVS/pharmacy survey revealed the following misconceptions:

  • Half of respondents (49%) thought flu shots are mainly for children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic conditions, despite the CDC’s recommendation that everyone ages 6 months and older should get an annual flu shot;

  • 35% believed flu shots can give people the flu, which is not true because the viruses used in the flu shot are inactivated;

  • 25% did not think flu shots work very well, even though the flu shot provides you with the best possible protection from catching the flu;

  • 22% thought flu shots can protect people for up to two years, but a flu shot is needed annually because the immunity provided by the vaccine declines over the course of the season; and

  • 14% thought flu shots are dangerous, but the fact is that the federal government ensures the safety of vaccines through FDA oversight of rigorous prelicensure trials and post-licensure monitoring by the CDC and the FDA.

"Myths about the flu shot are prevalent, causing people to go unprotected each year and putting themselves and their families at risk," added Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer for CVS Caremark. "Vaccination is the first line of defense against the flu, and we encourage individuals to protect themselves with a seasonal flu shot."

African-American adults are more likely to have misconceptions about flu shots and are somewhat less likely than others to get a flu shot, yet are among the most concerned about picking up germs, according to the survey. Hispanic adults are more likely than others to do all the right things to avoid getting and transmitting the flu, and are among the most likely to plan to get a flu shot this year.

The findings were from a phone survey using random-digit dial from Aug. 16 to 25, among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,498 adults, ages 18 years and older. The sample consisted of a national sample of 500 adults, an additional sample of 460 African-American adults (total of 498) and an additional sample of 450 Hispanic adults (500 total). KRC Research of Washington, D.C., conducted the fieldwork on behalf of CVS Caremark.

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Watson confirms generic Atelvia patent challenge

BY Allison Cerra

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Watson Pharmaceuticals is looking to market a generic version of a postmenopausal osteoporosis treatment.

The generic drug maker said its subsidiary, Watson Lavs, has filed an abbreviated new drug application with the Food and Drug Administration for risedronate sodium delayed-release tablets in the 35-mg. strength. The drug is a generic version of Atelvia, which is manufactured and distributed by Warner Chilcott.

In response to the ANDA filing, Warner Chilcott filed suit against Watson last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to block Watson from commercializing generic Atelvia prior to the expiration of patent Nos. 7,645,459 and 7,645,460. The suit was filed under the Hatch-Waxman Act, Under the Hatch-Waxman Act, which puts a stay of FDA approval on Watson’s drug for 30 months, or until the companies settle the matter.

Watson, however, said it believes it may be a "first applicant" to file an ANDA for the generic version of Atelvia and, should its ANDA be approved, may be entitled to 180 days of generic market exclusivity.

Atelvia had total U.S. sales of about $17 million for the 12 months ended in August, according to IMS Health data.


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APhA Foundation launches cardiovascular health initiative

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — The American Pharmacists Association Foundation announced Tuesday the launch of a cardiovascular health initiative.

The initiative, supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, will include a consortium meeting near Washington bringing in more than 20 stakeholders who will collaborate and share their perspectives on the legislative and regulatory changes needed to allow for implementation of care-delivery process improvements. The focus will specifically be on the care models pharmacists have employed to manage chronic disease states, such as hyperlipidemia, hypertension and diabetes.

"The APhA Foundation is excited to partner with the CDC’s DHDSP," APhA Foundation president of research Benjamin Bluml said. "The foundation, in collaboration with APhA, is well-equipped with knowledge, skills and leadership experience gained from our respective work in past research initiatives and policy efforts. We are excited to bring together a group of experts who are uniquely qualified to delivery critical insight from innovative care delivery practices that will inform the policy requirements surrounding implementation of these models."


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