PHARMACY

Reports: FDA investigating more than two-dozen compounding pharmacies

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The Food and Drug Administration will inspect about 30 compounding pharmacies that it has deemed "high risk," according to published reports.

Businessweek reported that the FDA started visits to the pharmacies started last month and would continue for the next two months. So far, unsanitary conditions were found at pharmacies in Chicago, Florida, Arkansas and Mississippi.

Regulators have placed greater scrutiny on compounding pharmacies following a nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to contaminated injectable steroids produced at the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass. So far, the epidemic has sickened 720 people in 20 states, leading to 49 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

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PHARMACY

CVS Caremark commits $15M to preventive health screenings in multicultural communities

BY Alaric DeArment

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy will sponsor more than 750 Project Health events in more than 10 cities, offering free health screenings to multicultural communities, the retail pharmacy chain said Monday.

Project Health, or Proyecto Salud in Spanish, will deliver more than $15 million worth of free health screenings in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Phiadelphia and Washington, as well as select CVS/pharmacy stores in Puerto Rico.

The tests include body-mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and smoking-cessation counseling, as well as dental care screenings in October and bone density screenings in May and November. The company also will offer information and education about issues such as nutrition, stress, breast cancer and others.

"Far too many of the multicultural populations we serve have difficulty accessing preventive care," CVS Caremark chief medical officer and EVP Troyen Brennan said. "Project Health makes it easier for our customers to make their health a priority, offering them health risk assessments free of charge right in their neighborhoods. This program allows us to better reach customers who come from a wide array of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, ensuring that we are able to help all people on their path to better health."

After screenings are complete, staff will help patients through on-site consultations with bilingual nurse practitioners and physician assistants who will analyze results and refer patients who require additional medical attention to no-cost or low-cost medical facilities nearby or to primary care physicians.

Events in 2012, which screened nearly 160,000 people, turned up at least one abnormal screening result in 53% of patients; risk factors for osteoporosis in 51%, overweight and obesity in 51%; at least one abnormal risk factor for heart disease in 47%; and abnormal glucose readings in 32%. 

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Smartphone app provides ‘e-visits’ to doctors

BY Alaric DeArment

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A system for connecting doctors with patients via smartphone is being presented at a healthcare information technology conference this month.

William Thornbury will present Me-Visit — short for Mobile Electronic doctor Visit — at HiMSS 2013 in New Orleans this week. Thornbury developed the technology as a way to address the needs of his patients after years of dealing with an overcrowded clinic. Me-Visit uses smartphones to provide care for minor medical problems and follow-up with patients’ personal medical providers, and Thornbury said he hoped it would help end "medical homelessness."

Me-Visit’s web portal offers around-the-clock access to patients using a personal computer, smartphone or other mobile device, collecting patients’ medical histories using an intuitive questionnaire and then securely transmitting them to doctors. The technology allows physicians to interpret patients’ symptoms, contact pharmacies when necessary and return a customized plan of care in about three minutes.

"People understand mobile apps, and most doctors regularly use smartphones," Thornbury said. "Me-Visit marries the two ideas and does so efficiently — it’s that simple."

 

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