PHARMACY

Stew Leonard’s offers employees on-site physicals

BY Antoinette Alexander

NORWALK, Conn. Stew Leonard’s recently brought into its Yonkers store nurses and doctors from Inter-State Diagnostic to conduct on-site physicals for its team members as part of its commitment to preventive health care, the company announced.

The program kicked off Aug. 2 with 24 associates receiving their annual physical performed by a medical team with Inter State Diagnostic. The associates reported to a conference room above the store for blood work, an EKG and complete physical. Inter-State Diagnostic’s doctors and nurses provided privacy screens and all necessary medical equipment, and met with each team member regarding their healthcare-related questions. A translator for Stew Leonard’s Spanish-speaking employees also was on hand.

On-site physicals are the latest example of how the grocer has taken an active approach to preventive health care for its more than 2,500 employees. On-site cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, mammograms and flu shots are offered throughout year and discounts on weight-loss programs, smoking cessation aids, and fitness center memberships also are provided to both full and part-time team members. In addition, through  Aug 31, Stew Leonard’s will give team members up to $500 in Benefit Bucks ­or money toward their deductible ­ to encourage them to visit their doctor for their annual checkup.

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GPhA: Banning patent settlements will cost money, not save it

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON The main lobbying group for the generic drug industry said federal authorities erred in projecting savings from a proposed ban on patent litigation settlements between branded and generic drug companies.

The Generic Pharmaceutical Association said the Federal Trade Commission and the Congressional Budget Office used faulty assumptions to support legislation against the settlements, based on an analysis led by former Clinton administration official Jonathan Orszag.

“Making drug patent litigation settlements presumptively unlawful will cost, not save, money for the government and consumers,” a statement by the GPhA read. “There are no examples of patent settlements that have delayed generic market entry beyond the date of the patent expiration. But there are many examples of settlements that have proven to be pro-competitive and pro-consumer by making lower-cost generics available months and even years before patents have expired.”

In many such lawsuits, a generic drug company will file for regulatory approval of its version of a branded drug before patent expiration. In response, the branded drug company will file a patent infringement lawsuit, placing a stay on Food and Drug Administration approval of the generic. Often, the two companies will reach a settlement whereby the generic company will agree to hold off launching its version of the drug in exchange for “payment” from the branded drug company, usually in the form of the branded drug company agreeing not to launch an “authorized generic” –– essentially the branded drug marketed under its generic name at a discount –– to compete with the generic.

Critics of the deals have derided them as “pay-for-delay” deals, though by law, the generic drug maker is forbidden from delaying launch beyond patent expiration, and launch often occurs ahead of expiration.

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Text messages may aid medication adherence for teen diabetics

BY Allison Cerra

COLUMBUS, Ohio A pilot study conducted by an endocrinologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is looking to increase medication adherence among adolescent diabetic patients with text message alerts.

Doctor Jennifer Dyer found that a simple reminder, in the form of a text message, can be sent to her teenage patients to improve their medication adherence. During the study, she sent personalized questions and reminders specific to diabetes adherence activities, in addition to friendly, supportive messages to her patients. Dyer also applied for an internal grant in order to test an iPhone application that she has developed. This application will allow endocrinologists to send personalized, yet automated texts to multiple patients at a specific time.

“If adolescent diabetes patients do not adhere to their treatment and medication plans, it can result in difficulty concentrating in school or functioning throughout the day,” said Dyer, who also is an assistant professor of pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “Excellent control and treatment can have a long-term, positive effect on a patient with diabetes. This form of communication allows for real-time health management, which is extremely valuable for patients that suffer from a chronic illness like diabetes.”

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