PHARMACY

Study says blood sugar-lowering treatments may not reduce heart attack, stroke risk

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK A study published Wednesday in the online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that Type 2 diabetics who undergo intensive blood sugar-lowering programs might not reduce their risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The researchers in the study assigned nearly 1,800 patients around 60 years of age to intensive or standard blood sugar control. Over the next approximately five and a half years, 264 of those undergoing standard blood sugar control had a heart attack, stroke or other form of heart disease. Of those undergoing intensive blood sugar control, 235 experienced the same.

The researchers also didn’t find any difference between the groups in terms of other diabetes-related complications.

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Aurora to support Concordia University School of Pharmacy

BY Alaric DeArment

MEQUON, Wis. Milwaukee-based Aurora Health Care will provide program support for Concordia University Wisconsin’s upcoming School of Pharmacy, Concordia officials announced Wednesday.

“It is important that we extend our resources to help ensure there are more opportunities to educate and train pharmacists in Wisconsin,” Aurora president and chief executive officer Nick Turkal said in a statement. “We have a longstanding commitment to find solutions to the challenges of health care, including the need to fill those positions where there are workforce shortages.”

One part of Aurora’s support involves letting Concordia pharmacy students work at Aurora pharmacies while its pharmacists serve as instructors at the school.

“We are excited with the news that Aurora Health Care will be partnering with us,” Concordia School of Pharmacy executive dean Curt Gielow said.

Concordia has raised $3 million of the $20 million it needs to build the pharmacy school by the 2011-2012 academic year, including $17 million to construct the building, Gielow said. The school will accept 50 to 75 students per class and train practitioner pharmacists to work in urban and rural areas.

The academic program will include a standard “2+4” program, comprising a two-year pre-pharmacy program and a four-year professional program, as well as a four-year bachelor of science degree program in pharmaceutical sciences.

Milwaukee is one of the largest cities in the country without a local pharmacy school.

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FDA grants waivers to Abaxis for point-of-care analyzers

BY Alaric DeArment

UNION CITY, Calif. The Food and Drug Administration has given blood-analysis system manufacturer Abaxis a waived status for two analytes, creatine kinase and phosphorus, when used by healthcare professionals with the Piccolo and Piccolo Xpress point-of-care analyzers, Abaxis said last week.

The company said Thursday that as a result of the waived status, healthcare professionals have better access to the Renal Function and MetLyte 8 panels and can conduct this testing at the point-of-care under a certificate of waiver.

“The waiver of these two panels bolsters our already comprehensive offering to healthcare professionals, enabling them to conduct important testing at the point of care in order to manage patients in real time,” Abaxis chairman and chief executive officer Clint Severson said in a statement. “We believe rapid and accurate diagnostic testing can lead to improved patient care while reducing some of the administrative burden healthcare practices face on a daily basis.”

The panels are respectively used to determine renal function status and to assess several metabolic conditions across several medical specialties, including pediatrics and cardiology.

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