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McKesson donates latex glove supplies to Sierra Leone health workers who are treating Ebola victims

BY Michael Johnsen

SEATTLE — McKesson donated four million pairs of latex gloves — enough to meet the entire country of Sierra Leone's needs for the next five months — to World Vision, the wholesaler announced Thursday.
 
Before the government of Sierra Leone institutes a three-day quarantine to contain the spread of Ebola, World Vision will begin a delivery of 200 pallets of medical relief supplies – thanks to private donations. Through World Vision's participation in the World Health Organization's Ebola Task Force, the gloves will be distributed to health workers who often find themselves treating patients without the proper supplies needed to prevent them from contracting Ebola.
 
"I am very thankful that we are in a position to donate these medical supplies at a time when the help is so desperately needed in West Africa," stated Stanton McComb, president, McKesson Medical-Surgical. "At McKesson, we're in the business of delivering better health to our customers and we're proud to partner with a great organization like World Vision to help make a real difference where it matters most."
 
"Health professionals and humanitarian aid workers are in an incredibly challenging and dangerous situation in Sierra Leone," said Leslie Scott, national director of World Vision Sierra Leone. "These medical supplies will support the men and women who are putting their lives on the line to respond to the Ebola crisis."
 
The gloves, and other critical supplies for public health workers, will be shipped to Sierra Leone on a chartered Boeing 747-400 flight that departs New York on Monday, Sept. 22. The supplies will be transported to New York from World Vision's warehouse in Pittsburgh starting today.
 
In August, the Wall Street Journal reported that the toll of the Ebola crisis would be lessened if hospital workers had more access to disposable rubber gloves.
 
McKesson Medical-Surgical's glove donation is part of a shipment of personal protective equipment, or PPE, kits that World Vision is supplying to health workers in Sierra Leone, helping to ensure that those caring for people infected with Ebola – a highly-contagious and deadly virus that kills more than half of those it infects – will themselves be protected.
 
The contents of a PPE kit include:
 
  • Gloves (surgical and examination);
  • Aprons;
  • Goggles or face shields;
  • Masks (high-filtration, surgical and exam);
  • Caps and covers (beard covers, leg covers, shoe covers);
  • Medical frocks;
  • Trousers; and
  • Scrubs.
 
In addition, 8,000 gallons of disinfectant were donated to World Vision and are being shipped with the PPE kits. Several of the items in the PPE kit were donated by Alpha Pro Tech, a manufacturer and distributor of protective apparel and infection control products.
 
Once the supplies arrive in Sierra Leone, World Vision and the country's Emergency Operations Center will collaborate to deliver them to health workers nationwide. In total, World Vision will ship nearly 240,000 pounds of donated medical supplies to Sierra Leone.
 
From Sept. 19 to 21, the government of Sierra Leone is mandating a nationwide three-day quarantine in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.
 
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Campbell’s favors convenience with latest line of soups

BY Ryan Chavis

CAMDEN, N.J. — Campbell Soup Co. announced the introduction of Campbell's Soups for Easy Cooking, a line of ready-to-use soups. The new soups are ideal for busy parents, the company said, and are specially created to help make dinner in 30 minutes or less. 
 
“Campbell’s has been America’s go-to secret for family-favorite dishes for many years,” said Leah Dunmore, VP U.S. soup, Campbell Soup Co. “New Soups for Easy Cooking continue our culinary tradition of mixing great-tasting flavors and convenience. We’ve used carefully selected seasonings to add authentic flavor to the soups, which make cooking homemade, week night dinners simple.”
 
Campbell’s Soups for Easy Cooking are available in four varieties: Savory Portobello Mushroom; Creamy Herb & Garlic with Chicken Stock; Sweet Onion; and Mexican Style Tomato. They are priced at $2.19 per 14.5-oz. carton and can be purchased in the soup aisle at grocery stores and retailers across the country starting this month. 
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NACDS issues statement to House Panel on fighting Rx abuse, diversion

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — As a House Panel reviews the work of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores submitted a statement urging transparency, collaboration and prioritization in working with pharmacy and other healthcare stakeholders to help protect patient access and fight prescription drug abuse and diversion, NACDS has announced.

The U.S. House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations held a hearing Thursday titled “Oversight of the Drug Enforcement Administration.”

In its statement, NACDS emphasized chain pharmacy’s initiatives to comply with DEA’s “cradle-to-grave” regulation structure, including loss prevention and internal security systems to help ensure safety and prevent diversion from the prescription drug distribution center to the point of dispensing the medication to the patient.

“Chain pharmacies are committed to ensuring that prescription drugs remain under tight control for the purposes of providing care to their patients, and are not diverted for nefarious purposes.  Our members’ efforts are evidence of this commitment,” NACDS said in its statement.

In its continuing efforts to work cooperatively in the best interest of patients while ensuring compliance with DEA regulations, NACDS stressed the importance of ensuring that public policy reflects the operational realities of pharmacies. One area where greater transparency would be helpful is clarification of the diverse and sometimes conflicting roles of pharmacists under DEA’s policies.

“On the one hand, pharmacists have a strong ethical duty to serve the medical needs of their patients in providing neighborhood care.  On the other hand, community pharmacists also are required to be evaluators of the legitimate medical use of controlled substances,” NACDS said in its statement.

According to NACDS, another area of concern is the quickly-approaching implementation date (Oct. 6) for rescheduling hydrocodone products into a Schedule II classification.  NACDS has and continues to cite implementation challenges with only 45 days that was provided for pharmacies to become compliant with the DEA’s final rule on this rescheduling.  NACDS had previously requested 180 days to allow pharmacies to become compliant with the rule.

Under DEA’s final rule, patients may face challenges in refilling their hydrocodone prescriptions. Prescriptions for these products that are issued on or after Oct. 6 must comply with requirements for Schedule II prescriptions and refills of these prescriptions will be prohibited.

Prescriptions issued before Oct. 6 that have authorized refills may be dispensed in accordance with DEA rules until April 8, 2015. However, state law, insurance limitations and some pharmacy quality and safety operations and processes may not allow for these prescriptions to be refilled.

Citing efforts to work with healthcare stakeholders, including prescribers and patient groups, to help prevent any potential disruptions to healthcare delivery, NACDS expressed concern in its comments stating, “Most states have not provided clarity with respect to whether such refills will be valid under state law.  Moreover, most pharmacies will not be able to process such refills due to existing quality and safety operations and processes; such pharmacy operations and processes cannot be modified in a mere 45-day time frame,” NACDS said in its statement.

NACDS noted that it has consistently supported policies urging federal agencies to work together to help ensure that patients can access medications, and prevent diversion and abuse of prescription drugs. NACDS has endorsed H.R. 4709, the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, which would establish a framework to foster collaboration among health and enforcement officials and other stakeholders to consider abuse and access issues simultaneously.

“We believe that bringing together stakeholders to address the problems associated with prescription drug abuse would provide better solutions than have been developed to date. Improved collaboration and coordination among federal agencies and other stakeholders would benefit all, including the patient, whose legitimate access must be preserved in order for any potential solution to be successful,” NACDS stated in its comments.

Prioritization of DEA’s resources also was cited by NACDS in its comments to help refocus government resources on solving the problems of prescription drug abuse and ensuring that legitimate patients are not harmed.  NACDS also cited better utilization of electronic prescribing and prescription drug monitoring programs in combating prescription drug abuse and diversion.
 

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