PHARMACY

Local Mass. government seeks to ban tobacco sales in pharmacies

BY Alaric DeArment

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. The expanding list of cities banning tobacco sales in pharmacies soon may gain a new member.

The Board of Health of Framingham, Mass., is considering a ban on cigarette sales in pharmacies, according to published reports. If enacted, Framingham would become the fourth city in Massachusetts – after Boston, Needham and Uxbridge – to purge tobacco from pharmacies.

Boston enacted its own ban earlier this year, preventing the sale of tobacco products at any store that operates a pharmacy, while San Francisco passed a ban last year that prohibits tobacco sales at drug stores, but not at supermarkets or mass-merchandise retailers with in-store pharmacies. Massachusetts and New York are also considering statewide bans.

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Researchers discover ways to prevent infection of cells

BY Alaric DeArment

MADISON, Wis. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found a way to block biological communications between cells that lead to viral infections and tumors.

In a study supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers from UW-Madison and other universities created a set of synthetic molecules that interacted with the HIV protein gp41 to prevent the infection of cells. Several viruses, including HIV, Ebola and influenza, use interactions between viral and cellular proteins to infect cells.

“There’s a lot of information transfer that occurs when proteins come together, and one would often like to block that information flow,” UW-Madison chemistry professor Samuel Gellman said in a statement.

While it remains unclear whether this method can be used to create anti-HIV drugs, Gellman said it did could potentially lead to new ways of thinking about designing antiviral drug molecules.

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Behavioral Health Central to relaunch Web portal

BY Antoinette Alexander

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. In an effort to bring together clinicians, patients, payers, executives and administrators on one central Web portal, Behavioral Health Central is relaunching the www.BehavioralHealthCentral.com site.

The new Web portal provides industry and clinical news, resources and tools, and social networking capabilities designed to bring together all of the major stakeholders in behavioral healthcare. 

“This new genesis of our site brings everyone to the table so they all have access to similar resources and information,” stated Jim Miller, president of BHC. “It’s a recognition that, in the end, we’re all striving for the same thing — better treatment pathways, leading to improved outcomes for patients.”

Another key feature of the new site is the addition of nationwide directories that allow professionals and consumers to quickly locate treatment facilities, therapists, vendors, drug information, association lists and more.

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