PHARMACY

FDA study says printed Rx information not as helpful, consistent as it should be

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. Printed consumer medication information provided voluntarily with new prescriptions at retail pharmacies does not consistently provide easy-to-read, understandable information about the uses and risks of medications, according to a study released Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration.

The study, “Expert and Consumer Evaluation of Consumer Medication Information,” showed that while 94 percent of consumers received printed CMI with new prescriptions, 75 percent of this information met the minimum criteria for usefulness, as a panel of stakeholders defined it. In 1996, Congress called for 95 percent of all new prescriptions to be accompanied by useful CMI by 2006.

“The current voluntary system has failed to provide consumers with the quality information they need in order to use medicines effectively and safely,” FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research director Janet Woodcock said. “Because the congressional goals have not been met, the FDA intends to seek public comment on initiatives that can be used to meet the goals.”

The FDA said that useful CMI includes scientifically accurate, unbiased information presented in an understandable and legible format, and it should include the drug name and uses, how to monitor for improvement in the condition being treated, situations in which the medicine should not be used, symptoms of serious or frequent adverse side effects and what to do, as well as general information such as encouragement that patients talk to their healthcare professionals.

“We need to work with pharmacy operators, drug manufacturers, healthcare professionals and consumers to come up with a sensible, comprehensive and more effective solution,” Woodcock said.

The FDA Risk Communication Advisory Committee will have a public meeting to discuss the study’s findings early next year.

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Take Care opens three clinics in New Orleans area

BY Antoinette Alexander

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, announced on Monday that it has opened three retail-based clinics in New Orleans, marking the first Take Care Clinics in the state of Louisiana.

Additional locations are slated to open in New Orleans in early 2009.

“We are excited to bring high-quality, affordable care to the citizens of New Orleans,” said Peter Miller, Take Care Health Systems’ president and chief executive officer. “We have watched this city overcome incredible obstacles in the past few years and we feel that its residents will greatly benefit from the increased access to health care offered by Take Care Clinics. Nearly one million patients have been treated at Take Care Clinics nationwide and we are proud to expand into New Orleans as part of our continued growth.”

Last year, Walgreens celebrated the opening of its 6,000th pharmacy location nationwide in New Orleans and has historically maintained a strong presence in the city.

Take Care Health Systems currently manages 312 clinics in 18 states.

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Medicine Shoppe teams with ADA on American Diabetes Month activities

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A retail pharmacy chain and the American Diabetes Association are collaborating to mark American Diabetes Month with free cards listing healthy recipes for people with diabetes.

Medicine Shoppe will distribute the cards, partially funded by Bayer HealthCare, listing 10 recipes that the ADA has approved as safe for diabetics, including chicken, turkey, potato, sausage and vegetable dishes.

The cards, titled the “Live Health Nutritional Recipe Cards,” list nutrition information and serving sizes for each recipe.

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