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Mr. Eder goes to Washington

BY Rob Eder

I’m not going to lie about it. The first thing I thought as I checked into the U.S. Capitol on official business to moderate a special Congressional briefing hosted by the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists was: “Wow, this is pretty cool.”


Truth is, the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists believed that Drug Store News could make some pretty complex ideas understandable for a group of 20-somethings whose job it is to tell 435 members of Congress what to think and how to vote.


What’s easy to understand is that homeopathy is a 200-year-old form of medicine that was discovered by a 19th century German physician who fell into it for much the same reason so many consumers are rediscovering homeopathy today — he was disillusioned with what modern medicine, at the time, had to offer. And, while people today have MUCH better options than, say, bleeding, stories in the consumer press about drug recalls; changes in pediatric dosing; adverse events and side effects; new studies that refute old studies; and possible contamination and counterfeiting, all change the way people think about their options.


According to research conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, one-third of Americans give our health system a failing grade as it relates to wellness and prevention. And they are looking at all options to stay ahead of the illness curve. According to Deloitte, in the last year: 


  • 15% decided NOT to see a doctor when they were sick or hurt, and chose to use an alternative treatment/natural therapy first or instead;

  • 4% switched to a provider that incorporated complementary/alternative therapies into his or her practices; 

  • 14% purchased an OTC instead of filling a prescription — 26% among people without insurance; and

  • 13% used some form of CAM in addition to a prescription drug — 8% INSTEAD of filling a prescription.


As our nation shifts from a patient-oriented model to a consumer-directed model where the emphasis is on preventing rather than treating disease, you can expect these trends to continue. That was my message for a room full of 20-somethings whose job it is to tell 435 members of Congress what to think and how to vote on some pretty complex issues — issues like the future of health care. And I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you that as I said it, all I could think was, “Wow, this is pretty cool.”


Rob Eder is the editor in chief of The Drug Store News Group, publishers of Drug Store News, DSN Pharmacy Practice, PharmacyTech News, Specialty Pharmacy and Retail Clinician magazines. You can contact him at reder@lf.com.

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Survey: Understanding blood test results would lead to healthier behaviors

BY Michael Johnsen

RARITAN, N.J. — Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, in partnership with the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, on Wednesday released a survey that determined consumers would more likely discuss health-and-wellness plans with their doctors, and take action, if they understood their blood test numbers.

The survey found that although nearly 90% of people would prefer to discuss blood test results during a doctor’s visit, only about 40% have discussed their results in person, primarily because the results were either mailed or emailed to the patient or the patient never received the results. In addition, some respondents reported that providers told them to assume everything was alright if the doctor did not notify them about the results.

“A key finding from the survey is that patients recognize the importance of their blood test results and want to have the information to participate in their care,” OCD company group chairman Nicholas Valeriani said. “Initiatives, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ recently proposed rules to provide direct access for patients to their lab test results, will help ensure that consumers can take a more active role in managing their health in partnership with doctors and healthcare providers.”  

Among consumers who reported an awareness and understanding of their numbers, more than a third made positive lifestyle changes, such as changing eating habits, maintaining regular medical visits and paying more attention to test results, to improve their health. Of those who reported that they did not make changes following results of a blood test, nearly 90% said it was because they did not need to make changes to maintain their health.

Based on the survey results, OCD and NACDD recently brought together representatives from government, business, healthcare professional groups and consumer advocates to examine the state of the nation’s health literacy regarding blood tests. The result of this effort, “Fundamentals to Wellness and Prevention: A Call to Action,” is a report that encourages business, healthcare and government leaders to work together to help consumers become more aware of the importance of blood tests, facilitate timely access to test results and help consumers understand their blood test “numbers” so they can translate the knowledge into action.

“Diagnostic test results are your personal healthcare report card, influencing 60% to 70% of healthcare decision-making. It is crucial that people are able to obtain blood test results in a timely manner and understand the basic information provided to have a meaningful conversation with their doctors,” NACDD CEO John Robitscher said.  “Empowering patients to understand the connection between their blood tests and lifestyle may help prevent the onset of a chronic disease, as well as help reduce unnecessary healthcare costs attributed to inadequate health literacy.”

The survey results, “Fundamentals to Wellness” report and “Know Your Numbers” educational materials can be found here.


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CVS/pharmacy to host Halloween customer appreciation event in stores

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy is holding on Oct. 23 its first annual "2011 Halloween Party and Customer Event" at all 7,200 locations nationwide.

Children who slip on a Halloween costume and purchase any item at any CVS/pharmacy location on Oct. 23 during regular store hours will receive one free Halloween gift pack per child, as well as an in-store costume photo shoot, which includes a free 5×7 print, during select times throughout the day.

The Halloween gift pack, available for free with any purchase while supplies last, includes:

  • $5 value of candy, toys, trick-or-treat safety items; and

  • $10 in coupons for additional Halloween products.

In addition, from Oct. 23 to 25, shoppers will find deals on two Halloween must-haves: candy corn and 4-in-1 pumpkin carver kits. ExtraCare cardholders can pick these items up for free after ExtraBucks Rewards.

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