HEALTH

Diabetes is focus of Indiana, Nevada initiatives

BY Drew Buono

INDIANAPOLIS and LAS VEGAS Eli Lilly and the Indiana Health Industry Forum will hold a summit on Nov. 13 called, “Building on Indiana’s Strength in Diabetes Research, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics,” to focus on the development of better therapies and diagnostic technologies for the prevention and management of diabetes.

The IHIF is a not-for-profit organization that works to define factors that can lead to economic development success in healthcare for Indiana and then build programs that support the future of the industry in the state.

The summit will be used to connect Indiana resources for the development of diabetes treatments and diagnostics, as well as identify business collaborations. In addition to attendees from academia and pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, representatives from Indiana state government, venture capital concerns, clinical research organizations, research service companies and advocacy groups will attend.

Also, today in Nevada, Health Innovations, the Nevada Health Care Coalition and Sanofi-Aventis released a new report on the demographics, costs and quality of care for people with Type 2 diabetes.

The Nevada Type 2 Diabetes Report for 2007 gives an overview of patient demographics, hospital and provider charges, and utilization of clinical services and drug therapy for people with Type 2 Diabetes in key local markets in the state of Nevada. The report also provides benchmarks from Phoenix as well as national benchmarks that can help employers and providers better identify opportunities to serve the needs of people with Type 2 diabetes.

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Makers of insulin pumps, glucose monitors modernize design

BY Drew Buono

MINNEAPOLIS New gadgets are hitting or about to hit the market that will take glucose monitoring into this century, according to businessweek.com.

One of these items is a, Paradigm Real-Time System, a glucose monitor made by Medtronic. The device attaches to a patients’ belt, which is connected to a needle that is lodged in the skin of the abdomen. The monitor measures the levels up to 288 times per day.

Another diabetes testing unit is called the GlucoPhone; the Food and Drug Administration recently approved it. The glucose meter attaches to some LG electronics and Motorola phones. The phone displays the results after the patient inserts a strip into it.

The move for these new innovative products came as a way to satisfy customers and increase proper diabetic testing. A recent study by Italian researchers showed that patients using the PRT System experienced 70 percent less therapy-related dissatisfaction than those who repeatedly inject themselves.

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Court rules that Washington state pharmacists may deny Plan B

BY Michael Johnsen

TACOMA, Wash. A federal judge here on Wednesday ruled in favor of a pharmacist’s right to “refuse and refer” the dispensing of any prescription for the emergency contraceptive Plan B, effectively overruling a state mandate that pharmacists in the state of Washington not decline to dispense a prescription drug based on moral beliefs unless there was a pharmacist coworker present who would adjudicate the prescription.

“The defendants [the state of Washington] are enjoined from enforcing [the anti-discrimination provisions of the new ruling enacted July 26] against any pharmacy which, or pharmacist who, refuses to dispense Plan B but instead immediately refers the patient either to the nearest source of Plan B or to a nearby source for Plan B,” concluded Judge Ronald Leighton of the U.S. District Court in his decision.

“Whether or not Plan B … terminates a pregnancy, to those who believe that life begins at conception, the drug is designed to terminate a life,” the judge wrote. “[The regulations] appear designed to impose a Hobson’s choice for the majority of pharmacists who object to Plan B: dispense a drug that ends a life as defined by their religious teachings, or leave their present positions in the state of Washington.”

The suit was filed by two individual pharmacists and the grocer Ralph’s Thriftway, which operates two supermarkets, one day before the state enacted its regulation this summer. Prior to the adoption of the regulations, Ralph’s Thriftway had been the object of a boycott organized by persons protesting the grocer’s refusal to stock Plan B. Both the store and the pharmacy manager were subsequently investigated by the Washington State Board of Pharmacy for allegedly failing to maintain an adequate stock of medicines. The Board later initiated an additional investigation in response to allegations that Ralph’s Thriftway violated pharmacy regulations by not stocking Plan B.

The American Pharmacists Association supports a pharmacist’s right to refuse and refer, but recognizing the central role of many pharmacists to the local health care system, the association emphasizes that those patients refused a prescription ought to be directed to a pharmacy or pharmacist that will fill that prescription in a timely manner.

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