PHARMACY

Study shows number of tobacco-dependent people highest in 15 years

BY Jenna Duncan

PHILADELPHIA Research presented at this year’s CHEST annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians Tuesday showed that the amount of people dealing with nicotine dependence is at a 15-year high. And among smokers, that severity of dependence have increased 12 percent between 1989 and 2006, reports said.

The report also stated that among those smokers who are seeking treatment to quit, about three-quarters are considered “highly nicotine dependent”—an increase of 32 percent since 1989.

“After treating tobacco-dependent patients for the last 25 years and conducting many tobacco dependence clinical treatment trials, I began to see a shift in severity of physical, nicotine dependence that required me to develop more intensive treatment plans for my patients,” David Sachs, a doctor at the Palo Alto Center for Pulmonary Disease Prevention and lead author of the study said. But Sachs and his colleagues did not provide an easy answer for why the numbers of nicotine dependent individuals were on the rise.

Sachs, his colleagues from Palo Alto Center for Pulmonary Disease Prevention and researchers from  St. Helena Hospital in Napa, Calif., concluded that more personalized, direct forms of outreach and treatment might be needed to deal with stronger cases of nicotine dependency. Sachs also stated that physicians may need to increase doses of prescription aids to help quit smoking, mix and match treatments and focus more on helping with symptoms of withdrawal.

At the meeting, ACCP president James Mathers announced that with results of the study, he and his colleagues at the American College of Chest Physicians would make a no smoking pledge to be tobacco-free and deepen their commitment to helping patients quit.

More information on the ACCP and reports are available online at www.chestnet.org. 

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PHARMACY

McKesson reports earnings increase for Q2 2008

BY Jenna Duncan

SAN FRANCISCO McKesson Co. reported Wednesday that its earnings for second quarter 2008 which ended Sept. 30 totaled $26.6 billion, up 9 percent from $24.5 billion at the same time last year.

“We had a solid quarter, with a particularly strong performance from Distribution Solutions despite industry concerns about lower prescription trends,” John H. Hammergren, chairman and chief executive officer said in a statement. “In Technology Solutions, our second quarter operating profit was up 8 percent year-over-year, although we did begin to see some customers delay their purchasing decisions.”

Second-quarter diluted earnings were $1.17 per share, up 41 percent from 83 cents per diluted share last year. That total included 27 cents per share from a $76 million tax reserve release and five cents per share after sale of the 42 percent holdings of Verispan, the company reported. McKesson benefited from the sale of its specialty pharmacy business Distribution Solutions, a business within McKesson Specialty Care Solutions.

McKesson also said that its second-quarter earnings totals included $25 million in pre-tax share-based compensation expense, versus its pre-tax expense of $28 million one year ago.

The company said that projections for 2009 earnings were reported at $4.00 to $4.15 per diluted share.

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CVS completes tender for Longs Drugs acquisition

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark has successfully completed the subsequent offering period of its tender offer for all of the outstanding common stock of Longs Drug Stores, and expects to effect the merger on or about Oct. 30.

The subsequent offering period for the tender offer expired at 6 p.m., New York City time, on Oct. 28. A total of approximately 28,317,338 shares of Longs were tendered in the initial and subsequent offering periods of the offer, representing approximately 78.07 percent of the outstanding shares.

CVS expects to effect, without a vote or meeting of Longs’ stockholders, a short-form merger on or about Oct. 30 to complete the Longs acquisition.

In the merger, each of the remaining outstanding shares (other than any shares owned by CVS or its subsidiaries) will be converted into the right to receive the same $71.50 in cash per share, without interest, that was paid in the tender offer.

Following the merger, Longs’ common stock will cease to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

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