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Endo subsidiary announces nationwide recall of birth control

BY Allison Cerra

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Qualitest Pharmaceuticals, an Endo Pharmaceuticals subsidiary, issued a voluntary, nationwide recall of multiple lots of oral contraceptives at the retail level.

Qualitest said it recalled lots of the following birth control pills due to a packaging error, whereby select blisters were rotated 180 degrees within the card, reversing the weekly tablet orientation and making the lot number and expiry date no longer visible. This error, the drug maker said, could leave women without adequate contraception and at risk for unintended pregnancy:

  • Cyclafem 7/7/7;

  • Cyclafem 1/35;

  • Emoquette;

  • Gildess FE 1.5/30;

  • Gildess FE 1/20;

  • Orsythia;

  • Previfem; and

  • Tri-Previfem.

The affected lot numbers can be found here.

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Making retail pharmacy a one-stop healthcare destination

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The virtual clinic services that Rite Aid is offering at its stores in Detroit are emblematic of the increasingly important role of retail pharmacy in health care and the pharmacy’s growing position as a one-stop destination for health.

(THE NEWS: Rite Aid offers ‘virtual’ clinics. For the full story, click here)

In a recent interview, National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation president Edith Rosato told Drug Store News that the organization already is working with state governments to lower the age at which children can receive vaccinations at the pharmacy, as well as expanding the range of vaccinations that pharmacists can administer, creating yet another clinical role for pharmacy.

Online virtual doctor visits have been around for some time. Zipnosis.com, for example, allows patients to log onto the site, answer the same questions a healthcare provider would ask a patient and, once the evaluation is complete, receive a response from a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant. Depending on the condition and the interview, a patient can receive anything from advice to a referral or even an electronic prescription. Zipnosis plans to expand to 10 states by the end of this year.

What makes Rite Aid’s collaboration with OptumHealth significant is that it brings these services into the store, giving the patient immediate access to the pharmacy, offering access to expertise from physicians, nurses and pharmacists — without the need to have the former two physically present in the store — and, if patients receive prescriptions, it offers the convenience of the pharmacy literally just a few steps away.

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CDC: Flu-associated deaths among young people could be prevented if they are vaccinated

BY Allison Cerra

ATLANTA — New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 115 people ages 18 years and younger died from influenza-related causes between September 2010 and August 2011.

Despite the agency issuing a recommendation for vaccination of all children ages 6 months and older back in 2008, only 23% of the 74 children older than 6 months of age with a known vaccination history had received their flu vaccine last season.

The CDC said that though it is rare for children and teenagers to die from flu-related deaths, many of them could have been avoided if they were vaccinated against the flu.

“It′s vital that children get vaccinated,” CDC′s Surveillance and Outbreak Response Team chief Lyn Finelli said. “We know the flu vaccine isn′t 100% effective, especially not in children with high risk medical conditions. That′s why it′s essential that these two medical tools be fully utilized. Vaccinate first; then use influenza antiviral drugs as a second line of defense against the flu. Right now we aren′t fully using the medical tools at our disposal to prevent flu illnesses and deaths in children.”

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