Walgreens Health Initiatives wins contract with First Medical
DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens Health Initiatives announced Friday that it had won a contract to provide its pharmacy benefit management services for First Medical Health Plan.
First Medical is a health maintenance organization with 345,000 members that serves government, union, commercial and Medicare groups in the Miami area and Puerto Rico.
“We selected Walgreens Health Initiatives as our pharmacy benefit manager for a number of reasons, primarily because of its flexibility in tailoring plan designs to specifically fit our needs, all at a reasonable price,” First Medical president Francisco Javier Artau said.
Walgreens Health Initiatives is a pharmacy benefit manager that serves almost 10 million members in the United States, including Puerto Rico.
Novartis starts shipping flu vaccine to U.S.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Novartis has begun shipping its Fluvirin Influenza Virus Vaccine to the United States. This comes just days after the Food and Drug Administration, with the recommendation of the World Health Organization, approved three new strains that would be included in the influenza vaccine composition for the 2008-2009 influenza season.
The company is producing up to 40 million doses of the vaccine, with expectations of at least 20 million doses being delivered by the end of September with the remainder to be shipped by Halloween.
“As one of the largest US suppliers of influenza vaccine, providing large quantities of Fluvirin early in the season supports public health efforts to vaccinate as many people as early as possible this upcoming influenza season,” said Joerg Reinhardt, chief executive officer of Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics.
Report shows more than 1,400 errors due to similar-sounding drug names
ROCKVILLE, Md. The eighth annual national MEDMARX Data Report was released this week by U.S. Pharmacopeia and it revealed that more than 1,400 commonly used drugs are involved in errors linked to drug names that look or sound alike.
For the report, USP reviewed more than 26,000 records submitted to the MEDMARX database from 2003 to 2006. These records revealed that 1,470 different drugs are implicated in medication errors due to brand and/or generic names that looked or sounded alike.
In response to the findings, USP is calling on prescribers and pharmacists to include an “indication for use” on prescriptions. Indication for use is a phrase that signals why the patient is taking the drug (e.g. cough, infection, rash). To prevent medication errors, USP recommends that this powerful piece of information be conveyed at several points along the health care system.
“Errors resulting from look-alike/sound-alike drugs are a problem that spans the entire health care system,” said Darrell Abernethy, chief science officer at USP. “By recording and communicating not only the name of the drug, but also what it is being used for, prescribers, pharmacists and consumers can work together to dramatically reduce these types of medication errors.”