HEALTH

Take Care Health Systems set to educate patients on swine flu

BY Michael Johnsen

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa. Walgreens and Take Care Health Systems are prepared to educate patients and provide recommendations for individuals seeking information on swine flu, the pharmacy retailer and clinic operator announced Wednesday.

“Take Care Health Providers are up-to-date on the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and have relevant protocols for diagnosing and treating the swine flu,” stated Allan Khoury, chief medical offer for Take Care. “As with any patient health concern or question, providers are available to give information and education to patients at both our Take Care Clinics and employer on-site health and wellness centers and pharmacies across the country.”

A rapid flu test cannot diagnose the swine flu strain specifically, Take Care cautioned, but positive tests for Influenza A may suggest swine flu, as the normal flu season is nearly over. Take Care Health Providers will treat patients based on clinical symptoms and exposure risk and rapid flu testing does not usually change overall treatment plan.

“Take Care Clinics have seen patients inquiring about the swine flu, asking questions about symptoms and how to protect themselves and their family,” stated Sandra Ryan, chief nurse practitioner officer for Take Care Health Systems. “Nurse practitioners and physician assistants follow CDC recommendations to prescribe anti-viral medications based upon current symptoms, suspected or confirmed exposure to the swine flu, and/or an individual’s situation in regards to traveling to an area of a confirmed case.”

Take Care Health Systems is working collaboratively with its employer clients to assist in any potential pandemic planning and provide customized solutions to meet the company’s needs. In addition, Take Care Health Systems is coordinating with local health departments to track and monitor for potential swine flu cases.

Walgreens drug stores are prepared to meet increased demand for anti-viral medications including Tamiflu and Relenza. Stores are also well-stocked with the essentials for basic virus prevention including antibacterial hand soaps, hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, latex gloves, disinfectant cleaners and other supplies.

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NAD recommends halt of Claritin ‘RediTabs’ broadcast ads

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on Monday recommended that Schering-Plough, maker of the over-the-counter allergy medication Claritin “RediTabs,” discontinue broadcast advertising that features high-speed raceway images.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined broadcast advertising for the product following a challenge by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the maker of competing OTC allergy medications Benadryl and Zyrtec.

NAD considered whether the race car imagery and narration in the commercial imply that Claritin RediTabs OTC provides the fastest relief of allergy symptoms.

The challenged advertising features NASCAR racecars running a track as Carl Edwards, a well-known NASCAR driver, appears and explains that “speed is important” to him and that when his allergies hit, he uses Claritin RediTabs, “the fastest dissolving allergy medicine.”  A statement that “Speed of dissolution does not imply speed of relief” appears simultaneously on the screen.

Following its review of the evidence, including a consumer perception survey provided by the challenger, NAD determined one reasonable takeaway from the commercial is that RediTabs provides very fast or instantaneous relief of allergy symptoms in comparison to competing allergy medicines. Further, NAD determined that the disclosure “Speed of dissolution does not imply speed of relief” contradicted, rather than limited, the main message of very fast or instantaneous allergy relief.

NAD recommended that the commercial be permanently discontinued and that future advertising avoid imagery and claims that imply that Claritin RediTabs provide very fast or instantaneous allergy relief.

Schering-Plough, in its advertiser’s statement, said it that while the company did not intend to convey a claim of instant relief, it “greatly respects NAD and the NAD process and will take this decision into account in crafting its future advertisements.”

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McKesson appoints chief technology officer

BY Allison Cerra

SAN FRANCISCO A McKesson executive is moving up the ranks.

McKesson Corp. announced that Randy Spratt, EVP and CIO, has been promoted to the newly-created position of chief technology officer, while retaining his responsibilities as the company’s CIO.

As chief technology officer, Spratt will guide the overall technology direction for the company’s healthcare technology products, and provide support and guidance for application development processes companywide. The position will serve as a support arm to the management teams within McKesson’s technology businesses, working collaboratively with each business to optimize the quality, interoperability, and transparency of McKesson’s software development operations.

“As our healthcare system increasingly looks to technology to improve both the quality and efficiency of care delivery, we see a tremendous opportunity to accelerate our progress in providing integrated, interoperable technology solutions,” said John Hammergren, chairman and CEO of McKesson. “Randy has an outstanding track record in establishing processes that have streamlined how we plan, build and deploy our technologies internally, and I am confident that he can apply the same level of focused guidance to the development and deployment of our customer-facing solutions. At McKesson we are committed to ensuring the highest levels of customer satisfaction and to delivering a high return on investment for our customers. This decision will support world class results in both areas.”

Spratt has served as McKesson’s CIO since 2005, with responsibility for all internal technology initiatives within the Corporation. Spratt has been with McKesson for more than 18 years, most recently as chief process officer for McKesson Provider Technologies, the company’s medical software and services division based in Alpharetta, Ga.

“I am excited to be involved in the product side of our business again, and I am looking forward to working with the leaders of our software development businesses to establish broad technology plans, improve interoperability of our technology solutions, and optimize our development processes and activities,” said Spratt. “We are committed to developing best-in-class, integrated solutions that improve our customers’ business and clinical performance, and provide a more connected healthcare system that benefits us all.”

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