States find inadequate funds to stockpile flu medication
WASHINGTON The U.S. population’s flu pandemic has prompted a push from the federal government to stockpile drugs to treat it, putting more pressure on some states that do not have the budget to stockpile.
Twenty-five percent of Americans have the flu, and since 2003, H5N1 bird flu has killed 239 of 379 infected in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, according to published reports. The fear of bird flu and other viruses has caused a stockpiling program that has been running for about two and-a-half years. Due to government pressure, states have bought 71 percent of the 31 million courses of antivirals from the federal government, according to published reports.
A problem that has risen as a result of the stockpiling program is that not all states are able to purchase the flu medications. Many state officials have argued that they don’t have sufficient funds to stockpile. Florida’s Department of Health noted that it bought 66,000 antiviral courses, which is 3.7 percent of the 1.8 million goal that the government set for the state. According to published reports, one course treats one person.
Other states such as Rhode Island and Massachusetts, also have just begun to stockpile. Colorado also determined that it would not stockpile due to cost-factors. On the other hand, Louisiana has all of its antiviral medicine, along with 50,000 extra units.
According to published reports, the government has stockpiled 44 million courses of Roche’s Tamiflu, which covers 15 percent of the U.S. population. It also has 6 million additional courses in cases of an outbreak.
A growing issue is that not everyone state is adequately covered for a flu pandemic. Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit health advocacy group states, “Seventy percent is not adequate when you have pockets of the country with no or little coverage,” in response to the percentage of courses bought by states.
Duane Reade senior vice president D’Arezzo resigns
NEW YORK Duane Reade announced on Wednesday that David D’Arezzo, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, has resigned, effective April 17.
According to Duane Reade, DOArezzo is leaving to assume a senior management position at a large southwest regional company. Additional details were not immediately available.
The Manhattan-based pharmacy retailer is currently searching to fill the chief marketing officer position.
“Dave has been a key contributor to our success over the last two years and the company is well-positioned largely due to his efforts to elevate our product offerings and strengthen the Duane Reade brand proposition,” said newly appointed chairman and chief executive officer John Lederer. “We thank him for his service to Duane Reade, as well as his leadership at an important time in the company’s history, and wish him well in his new role.”
On March 31, Duane Reade announced that Lederer, formerly Loblaw Cos. president, would assume the role of chairman and chief executive officer.
Lederer succeeds Rick Dreiling, who left Duane Reade in late January to steer the ship at discount store chain Dollar General. Since that time, D’Arezzo had served as interim chief executive officer.
In announcing Lederer’ appointment, the company stated that D’Arezzo would continue his responsibilities as senior vice president and chief marketing officer under Lederer.
CCA partners with CDC for emergency responses
Philadelphia PHILADELPHIA — The Convenient Care Association, the non-profit organization representing the retail-based clinic industry, is looking to partner with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to explore ways to improve prevention, surveillance and emergency response to diseaseoutbreaks and crises.
“CCA is pleased that these discussions are under way, as this represents an important opportunity to leverage our national network of easily accessible healthcare facilities to improve public health outcomes and reduce costs,” stated Web Golinkin, chief executive officer of clinic operator RediClinic and president of the CCA.
The convenient care industry has recorded 3 million visits and is expected to serve an additional 3.5 million patients by 2009. There are nearly 1,000 clinics in 36 states, and that number is expected to double by the end of 2009.
Added Michael Howe, chief executive officer of CVS Caremark-owned MinuteClinic, “Our ability to see early indicators of infection in easily accessed and diverse locations around the country makes us a strong ally for public health. In addition, in the event of a health crisis, our locations and distribution systems are well-suited for the rapid delivery of countermeasures.”
“I am excited and optimistic about the potential for collaborating with CCA to increase access to preventive services for the nation’s population routinely, as well as in times of crisis,” stated Bradley A. Perkins, chief strategy and innovation officer for CDC.
Research from the New England Complex Systems Institute supports the need for a network that can deliver high-volume, low-complexity, high-impact preventive services. “The characteristics of the retail-based convenience care clinics match this need,” stated Yaneer Bar-Yam, Ph.D., president of the institute. “Their distinct capabilities complement those of traditional providers.”