Ritzman Pharmacies looks to acquire Mast Pharmacies
WADSWORTH, Ohio — Ritzman Pharmacies, which operates 20 pharmacies, including 11 pharmacies located within Buehler’s Fresh Foods Markets, is looking to acquire Mast Pharmacies.
"For 33 years, Mast Pharmacies has strived to always put the customer first. We are looking for this merger to provide the best for Mast customers and staff, continuing our tradition of customer service. I am confident that Ritzman will provide this," stated Rod Mast, owner of Mast Pharmacy.
Eric Graf, CEO and co-owner of Ritzman Pharmacies, added, "Mast and Ritzman are both locally owned businesses that share the same values, which makes this collaboration a natural fit." Mast Pharmacies operates five pharmacies in Ohio. The first Mast pharmacy began taking care of customers in 1981.
Ritzman’s pharmacy locations reach south to Delaware, Ohio, and north to Brunswick, Ohio. In addition to its retail pharmacy locations, Ritzman also operates a specialty packaging pharmacy and a home infusion pharmacy.
New therapeutic, heated pillows use cherry pits for pain relief
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The Hot Cherry Pillow has been introduced to consumers seeking therapeutic relief from neck pain, backaches, sore muscles or tired feet. Using real cherry pits inside a fabric cover, the heated pillows provide muscle relief and emit the enticing aroma of cherry pie, according to the company.
"I created Hot Cherry Pillows to offer relief for anyone who suffers from chronic pain or stress," said J’Nelle Holland, the company’s founder. "My goal was to create a product that would have a dual purpose by making an impact on my customers’ lives, while also helping our environment."
Hot Cherry Pillows are 100% sustainable and American-made with real pits from the Michigan tart cherry industry. The pits are cleaned and dried by a special process using only water and heat before they are encased in a naturally dyed denim derived from the bark of the Hawaiian macadamia tree.
The new therapeutic pillows are available online at HotCherryTherapeuticPillow.com and on Amazon.
Study: Community pharmacies are effective locations for rapid HIV testing
BRONX, N.Y. — Community-based pharmacies can be effective locations for offering rapid HIV testing, diagnosing HIV and quickly connecting those who test positive with medical care, according to researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.
The study is in the August issue of the journal AIDS Patient Care and STDs.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the number of new HIV infections each year in the United States has remained stable for more than a decade at approximately 50,000. More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. Nearly 1-out-of-5 in that group are unaware they are infected.
"There are many reasons why these numbers have not improved, but access to testing likely plays a large role," said Yvette Calderon, M.D., lead author for the study. "Access to healthcare remains particularly poor among low-income and minority populations — groups that shoulder the highest HIV burden. We have been looking for new ways to reach out and offer testing to individuals in these groups and bring them into care if they need it."
Calderon is professor of clinical emergency medicine and associate dean for the office of diversity enhancement at Einstein, and adult urgent care director at Jacobi Medical Center.
The Bronx, where Einstein and Jacobi are located, is ethnically diverse and has one of the highest HIV rates in the country, with some groups at much higher risk than others. According to researchers, nationally, the rate of new infections among African-Americans is nearly eight-times greater than that of whites. Hispanics have the second-highest rate, which is three times that of whites.
Calderon and her Einstein-Jacobi colleagues Jason Leider, M.D., Ph.D., and Ethan Cowan, M.D., M.S., formed partnerships with five community-based pharmacies in the Bronx and Manhattan (specifically Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen) in an effort to test hard-to-reach, high-risk individuals. Public health advocates were trained to approach people in the pharmacies and on the sidewalks outside to offer HIV testing. When an individual agreed, the PHA would administer the rapid HIV test, which needs only a swab of saliva and provides results in 20 minutes.
While waiting for the results, the PHAs asked the participants to fill out an HIV-risk factor and test satisfaction questionnaire, and then counseled them about HIV-risk reduction behavior based on their answers. If the HIV test result was positive, the PHA offered to escort the participant to the HIV clinic at Jacobi or a collaborating HIV clinic near the testing site, where an HIV specialist saw them immediately. All participants were allowed to accept or decline the escort. On average, HIV-positive clients saw an HIV specialist less than an hour after being diagnosed.
During 294 testing days, 2,030 individuals agreed to HIV testing, six of whom tested positive. Five of the six agreed to accompany the PHA to an HIV clinic. Further testing revealed that their median CD4 count was 622 white blood cells/mL, indicating they were diagnosed at a relatively earlier stage of infection, researchers stated. (A CD4 count above 500 for someone with HIV in treatment is considered good. The immune system of someone who is HIV-negative person would have a CD4 count of 700-1,000.)
"In many urban areas, community pharmacies play an important role," Calderon said. "While New York pharmacies are not currently allowed to provide blood tests or medical care, they do administer vaccines and provide wellness help. Many area residents view the pharmacists as trustworthy and more accessible than doctors and go to them for advice."
"Our results demonstrate that pharmacies can effectively supplement the current healthcare system for HIV testing, especially in some of our lower-income communities" Calderon added. "They could become an important component of an extended network for informing more people to their HIV status and bringing them into care."