PHARMACY

Take Care now offers shingles vaccine

BY Antoinette Alexander

CONSHOCKEN, Pa. Take Care Health Systems, which is owned by Walgreens, has announced that it is now administering the shingles vaccine at all 177 Take Care Health Clinics in 19 markets throughout 14 states.

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is caused by the same virus as chickenpox. Once a person has had chickenpox, the virus remains dormant in certain nerves of their system. If the virus becomes active again, usually later in life, it causes a painful rash. The first signs of shingles are often itching, tingling and burning of the skin.

In line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations, Take Care Health Clinics will administer the shingles vaccine to adults 60 years of age or older. It is given as a single dose by injection under the skin. The vaccine cannot be used to treat shingles once a person has it, though it may help to prevent further outbreaks, according to the company. The vaccine may not protect everyone who receives it.

According to the CDC, at least one million people in the United States get shingles every year. It is far more common in adults over the age of 50 than in younger people, and age, stress and problems with the immune system may increase the chance of developing shingles.

“Roughly 43 million adults are at risk for the disease. For adults over 60 years old, the vaccine can reduce their chance of getting shingles by half,” stated Sandra Ryan, chief nurse practitioner for Take Care Health Systems. “By expanding access to the vaccine, we hope to give more patients the opportunity to get important preventative care.”

The vaccine may be covered by a patient’s pharmacy benefit. Coverage varies depending on a patient’s individual plan. The cost of the vaccination is $219.99 for uninsured patients or cash payers.

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California information-sharing bill struck down by Assembly

BY Drew Buono

LOS ANGELES A California bill aimed at sharing people’s prescription medication information with mass mailers did not receive a single vote of support in the Assembly Health Committee after being approved by the Senate on May 29, according to the Los Angeles Times. The bill, SB 1096, was written by Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, who will most likely not reintroduce it, even though he reserved the right to do so.

In presenting the legislation Tuesday, Calderon described it as a boon to consumers, especially those with chronic medical conditions. He said it would allow drugstores to send letters to people reminding them to take their medication or refill a prescription.

The problem with the bill, besides the fact that the patients did not want their prescription medical history shared with someone other than their doctor, is that the bill did not state who would be paying for the reminder letters and which patients would receive them.

According to the Times, it appeared that pharmaceutical companies were behind the funding in an effort to bring in more money on their respective medicines. Also, another provision stated that people who wanted to not be on the mailers would have to opt-out of the program, instead of opting into the program by stating that they would be okay with their information shared.

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CCPA: track-and-trace mandate could cost pharmacies $110,000 per store

BY Alaric DeArment

ALEXANDRIA, Va. Implementing a track-and-trace system would cost drug store chains $84,000 to $110,000 or more per store in the first year, according to a study that examined the safety of the prescription drug supply chain and the potential effects of a federally mandated system.

The study, released by the Coalition of Community Pharmacy Action, examined the safety of the prescription drug supply chain and the potential effects of a federally mandated track-and-trace system. It also found that existing security measures since 2005, including changes in state laws and steps the chains themselves have taken, have already cut the risk of counterfeit drugs entering the supply chain. The study found no cases of counterfeit drugs in the normal distribution channels since 2005, and most of the problems were from Web sites distributing drugs illegally.

The cost estimate was based on costs of computer hardware software, infrastructure, labor and other resources.

The CCPA is comprised of the National Community Pharmacists Association and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

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