PHARMACY

MinuteClinic offering physicals at special rate

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. With camp season, team practices and summer sports leagues right around the corner, administrators soon will be asking for completed physical exam forms before a child or teen is able to participate, so MinuteClinic is offering exams at a special rate through Sept. 19.

Through Sept. 19, exams will be priced at $35. Additional charges may apply for more thorough exam requirements, such as urinalysis. Insurance is not accepted for physical exams. Requirements for physicals vary by state, and services are not available in Massachusetts.

For the campers, athletes and college-bound students seeking physicals, nurse practitioners and physician assistants at MinuteClinic will measure height and weight, review health and immunization history, perform a simple exam to determine if the youth is fit to participate in an activity, help with any required paperwork and provide safety and education tips.

Practitioners will stamp any school or camp forms and reference the results provided on the official MinuteClinic patient summary. Copies of the summary can be faxed or mailed to primary care providers, usually within 24 hours, with patient permission.

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PHARMACY

Teva launches generic Yaz

BY Allison Cerra

JERUSALEM Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has launched a generic oral contraceptive, the drug maker said Tuesday.

Gianvi is the generic version of Bayer’s Yaz tablets, which had total sales of nearly $782 million in the United States for 12 months ended Dec. 31. Teva has been awarded a 180-day period of marketing exclusivity for the contraceptive.

As previously announced, Teva has the right to launch an authorized generic version of the product, supplied by Bayer, in July 2011.

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Consumer Reports survey: Antidepressant use on the rise

BY Allison Cerra

YONKERS, N.Y. A new Consumer Reports health survey found that nearly 80% of respondents seeking treatment for depression or anxiety were prescribed antidepressants.

Of the 1,500 subscribers surveyed, Consumer Reports found that 78% respondents use antidepressants to aid their mental health issues. CR also found that 58% had experienced anxiety, up from 41% in 2004 when CR last surveyed subscribers about these conditions. The survey sought to show how subscribers treat their mental health conditions and asked readers who took drugs for anxiety, depression or both within the past three years to rate them.

The survey also found that older, often less expensive antidepressants known as SSRIs  (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Lexapro, Celexa, Prozac and Zoloft work just as well, and with fewer side effects (51% of respondents said), than newer, more costly drugs known as SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) like Cymbalta and Effexor (49%). SSRIs and SNRIs address depression by altering the levels of certain brain chemicals, CR said.

CR also found, however, that talk therapy was effective in treating anxiety or depression in patients, it received high marks from CR’s survey participants–91% said therapy made things “a lot” or “somewhat” better. People who stuck with talk therapy for at least seven sessions had significantly better outcomes that those who went to six or fewer sessions. What’s more, they scored as high as people treated mostly with medication on an overall outcome scale.

“Pharmaceutical companies stand to profit most from convincing consumers that drugs are the only answer to depression and anxiety, and that newer, more expensive drugs are a better alternative to older drugs and their generic counterparts,” said Nancy Metcalf, senior program editor, Consumer Reports Health.  “Our survey shows that a combination of therapy and medication works best, and that despite the intense marketing push consumers are subjected to, there is no evidence that newer drugs like Pristiq and Cymbalta work any better than older medications in their class.”

Click here to read the full report.

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