HEALTH

Study: Stomach bugs increase risk of IBD

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Diarrheal disease may increase a person’s risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease, according to a study published in Gastroenterology.

IBD refers to a group of conditions, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, marked by chronic inflammation in the intestines, leading to such symptoms as abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Henrik Nielsen, M.D., from Aarhaus University Hospital in Aalborg, Denmark, and colleagues reported in the latest issue of the journal that over the course of 7.5 years, IBD was diagnosed for the first time in far more gastroenteritis patients 1.2% of patients were diagnosed with IBD, compared with 0.5% of healthy control subjects.

Nielsen and colleagues compared the risks of IBD between 13,148 patients with documented gastroenteritis caused by salmonella or campylobacter and 26,216 uninfected controls.

Stomach bug patients had nearly a threefold increased risk of developing IBD over the entire study period, and nearly a twofold increased risk in the first year after infection.

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Diplomat, Commcare named top companies by Inc. magazine

BY Alaric DeArment

SWARTZ CREEK, Mich. Two specialty pharmacies have earned places on a list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the United States.

Swartz Creek, Mich.-based Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy, which operates six pharmacies in the Midwest and Florida, announced Wednesday that it had made the 235th place in Inc. magazine’s 2009 Inc. 500, which ranks the country’s top private companies every year. In addition, Commcare, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based, $100 million specialty pharmacy with three locations founded in 1996, came in at 374 on the list. Commcare was profiled in the inaugural issue of Specialty Pharmacy, a new magazine within the Drug Store News group of publications.

“While coming in at 235 in the nation is an amazing achievement, the additional details are even more astounding,” Diplomat president and CEO Phil Hagerman said in a statement.

Those “additional details” include Diplomat’s number-one rank among the 43 companies listed in the healthcare category, a place among the top 10 companies ranked by total revenue and the company’s 917% growth over the last three years.

“At Diplomat, we’re proud to make Inc.’s Top 500 list,” Hagerman said. “This achievement recognizes the creativity, dedication and hard work that have gone into building Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy into what it is today.”

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CVS Caremark study finds need for improvements in healthcare access, costs

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS Caremark announced on Thursday the results of its 2009 “Health IQ” study, which underscores the need to improve health outcome, increase access and curb costs.

The study, which examined consumer attitudes and behaviors around health care and prescription usage, was commissioned in April among 2,000 consumers who report taking at least one maintenance medication. Cooper Research, a healthcare research company in Cincinnati, conducted the Internet-based study.

According to the findings, 13% of respondents were not covered by a prescription drug health insurance plan. Those under the age of 65 and those with a household income of less than $50,000 are less likely to be covered. In addition, 15% of caregivers are not covered. Roughly 1-in-10 consumers do not obtain yearly checkups, but the number jumps to 26% for those without prescription drug coverage.

The study also found that many consumers consider prescription costs to be confusing and 66% have not spoken to anyone in the past 12 months about how to save money on their prescriptions, while one-fourth of respondents said they simply don?t know who to ask. Among the one-third who have sought advice, an equal proportion spoke to their pharmacist or their doctor.

To help improve medication adherence, CVS Caremark offers its Proactive Pharmacy Care program, which is focused on helping consumers understand the benefits of taking their medicine consistently, and how they can reduce the cost.

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