HEALTH

Study finds multivitamins reduce risk of low birth weight

BY Michael Johnsen

OTTAWA Prenatal multivitamin supplements are associated with a significantly reduced risk of babies with a low birth weight, compared with prenatal iron-folic acid supplementation, a study published last week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found.

The World Health Organization currently recommends iron-folic acid supplements for all pregnant women. Previous studies have not shown an advantage from prenatal multimicronutrient supplementation over iron-folic acid supplementation, study authors noted.

“Low birth weight and related complications are considered the most common cause of global infant mortality under the age of 5 years,” wrote Prakash Shah of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. “With the possibility of reducing low birth weight rates by 17%, micronutrients supplementation to pregnant women … offers the highest possible return for the investment,” he added. The authors suggested that approximately 1.5 million babies born with a low birth weight could be avoided each year globally, out of the estimated 20.6 million low-weight births.

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Pharmacy groups brief Congress on health, cost benefits of MTM

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Making sure that medication therapy management is a part of any new healthcare reform legislation is a major priority for this industry, but it may be even more critical to the U.S. healthcare system.

 

Here’s why: according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid estimates, $2.5 trillion will be spent on health care this year. Approximately 54% of that spend was assumed by private insurers and out-of-pocket costs. By 2018, the majority of that spend is expected to shift toward the government, CMS predicts, with an assumption of some 51% of the $4.4 trillion projected spend then.

 

Meanwhile, pharmacists do a lot more than just fill prescriptions, such as work with physicians to optimize therapeutic choices, and help patients understand their medications and how to take them. These types of services already help save billions each year in unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits by preventing dangerous interactions and adverse effects.

Then there’s MTM.

Using diabetes as just one example, such programs as the Diabetes Ten City Challenge, a national program launched by the APhA Foundation in 2005 that today is saving up to $1,000 per year per patient through a pharmacist-driven patient intervention.

Walgreens Health Initiatives in 2006 determined that its MTM program netted a 2.5:1 return on investment, saving some $408,000 annually for each 100,000 covered.

Take either one of those studies and extrapolate those savings across the ever-growing Medicare population, and you have some real  potential to take a significant bite out of that $2.2 trillion in projected government healthcare costs within the next 10 years.

What’s real telling, however, is that Congress is listening to what pharmacy might be able to offer. This Tuesday, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores is hosting its first RxIMPACT Day on Capital Hill. Already, 60 leaders from over 20 states have committed to attend.

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Target, ZonePerfect Nutrition Bars to be premier sponsors of annual film festival

BY Michael Johnsen

LOS ANGELES Premier Sponsors for the 2009 Los Angeles Film Festival, running June 18 to 28, will be Target and Abbott Laboratories’ ZonePerfect Nutrition Bars, announced Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Festival, on Friday.

Principal sponsors include Kodak, IFC and Netflix.

Now in its fifteenth year, the Los Angeles Film Festival will screen more than 200 feature films, shorts and music videos, representing more than 30 countries.

Target has been a Los Angeles Film Festival premier sponsor for nine years running and will be honoring Festival filmmakers at the Target Filmmaker Awards Gala, where they will distribute the Target Filmmaker Award for Best Narrative Feature and the Target Documentary Award, each carrying an unrestricted cash prize of $50,000. Target also sponsors CineCultura – a Festival program honoring Latin films and filmmakers programmed in the Festival.

In its first year as a Premier Sponsor, ZonePerfect Nutrition Bars will host the ZonePerfect live.create. lounge. Located in the heart of Westwood Village at 1028 Westwood Blvd., the lounge will be the center of activity for Festival events, film parties and live music. In addition, the makers of ZonePerfect bars will host singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson on June 27 for a special evening performance and will present the Los Angeles Unified School District with a check in partnership with the VH1 Save The Music Foundation to restore a local Los Angeles elementary school’s instrumental music program.

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