PHARMACY

States rated on children’s health care

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Parents who want the best health care for their children may want to consider moving to Iowa or Vermont.

The Commonwealth Fund released its State Scorecard on Health System Performance Thursday, showing vast disparities in access to and quality of children’s healthcare across the states and the District of Columbia.

Iowa scored at the top of the list, with Vermont not far behind. According to the report, “Over the last decade, both states adopted policies to expand children’s access to care and improve their quality of care. In particular, Iowa and Vermont expanded SCHIP [the State Children’s Health insurance program] and mandated that all child health plans and local and regional children’s health systems publicly report data on the quality of care. This analysis indicates that such policies make a difference.”

“Iowa and Vermont have created children’s healthcare systems that are accessible, equitable, and deliver high-quality care, all while controlling levels of spending and family health insurance premiums,” the report continued.

Meanwhile, Florida and Oklahoma ranked the lowest.

Rankings were based on 13 indicators of child health system performance—which included such factors as whether or not children were insured, whether they had received all of their vaccinations, whether they received regular medical and dental preventive care and had a primary care provider—as well as access, quality, costs and the “potential to lead healthy lives.”

The report also shined a light on shortfalls in kids’ access to a primary healthcare provider. According to the report, “Children’s access to medical homes—primary care providers who deliver health care services that are easily accessible, family-centered, continuous, comprehensive, coordinated and culturally competent—varies widely across states. Sixty-one percent of children in New Hampshire, and over half of all children in all the New England states, have a medical home, compared with only one-third in Mississippi. Research shows that medical homes are an effective way to improve health care quality and reduce disparities by race, insurance status, and income. In this report, having a medical home is defined as having at least one preventive medical care visit in the past year, being able to access needed specialist care and services and having a personal doctor/nurse who usually/always spends enough time and communicates clearly, provides telephone advice and urgent care when needed, and follows up after specialist care.” 

Based in New York, the Commonwealth Fund promotes improved access and quality in health care.

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PHARMACY

Takeda could see Alogliptin approval in near future

BY Alaric DeArment

OSAKA, Japan Japanese pharmaceutical manufacturer Takeda’s new diabetes drug could get approval soon, according to Bloomberg.

According to the financial news agency, reports by analysts showed that the drug, alogliptin, had promise after the American Diabetes Association released parts of nine studies of the medication that were submitted for marketing approval in the U.S. in January, last week. They show the drug lowered blood sugar levels as much as Merck’s Januvia without serious side effects.

Alogliptin, also known as SYR-322, will compete with Merck’s Januvia and Novartis’ Galvus, which is also up for approval at the Food and Drug Administration. All three drugs are in a new class of diabetes treatments known as DPP4 inhibitors that signal the pancreas to produce more insulin and the liver to make less glucose, or blood sugar.

Assuming approval by the Food and Drug Administration, Alogliptin will succeed Actos, which generates about 29 percent of Takeda’s current revenue. Actos will lose patient approval in 2011.

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Accutane ingredient linked to increased risk of depression

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry has shown a link between use of the acne drug isotretinoin and increased risks of depression.

The drug was shown to more than double the risk of depression in a study of more than 30,000 people in Quebec who had received at least one prescription for it between 1984 and 2003.

Roche Pharmaceuticals’ drug Accutane has isotretinoin as its main active ingredient. The FDA originally granted approval to the drug in 1982.

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