HEALTH

Walgreens kicks off nationwide safe medication-disposal program

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens has teamed up with Sharps Compliance to launch the drug store chain’s first-ever safe medication-disposal program.

Walgreens said the program is designed to protect public safety, as well as ease the concern of parents that fear children and teens can access unused medications at home. The company has kicked off this program with the help of Sharps Compliance, a leading full-service provider of cost-effective management solutions for medical waste and unused dispensed medications, which estimated that more than 200 million lbs. of unused dispensed medications are disposed of improperly each year.

How it works: For $2.99, customers can purchase a specially designed envelope — postage cost included — available at any Walgreens pharmacy counter that allows them to place, seal and mail prescription or over-the-counter medications they no longer use for safe, eco-friendly disposal. Controlled substances are excluded from the program, Walgreens said.

“In thousands of communities, Walgreens serves as the most accessible source of everyday health information,” said Walgreens VP pharmacy operations Richard Ashworth. “That makes us a natural choice for guidance on anything involving medications, including proper disposal. Through this program, we can do our part to keep expired or unused medications out of waterways and out of the hands of those who could be accidentally harmed.”

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Pharmacy groups launch e-health task force

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON Staking a firm claim to the emerging technology revolution in health care, nine national pharmacy organizations Wednesday unveiled a new, joint task force to grapple with the challenges and opportunities posed by information technology.

The so-called Pharmacy e-Health Information Technology Collaborative will focus on the pharmacy profession’s technology needs “to ensure that they are addressed and integrated into the framework of the U.S. health information technology infrastructure,” the groups noted in a joint statement. “In doing so, the collaborative is committed to creating a comprehensive and unified approach, ensuring optimal integration of pharmacy’s requirements and contributions into the electronic health record.”

Among the collaborative’s founding members: the American Pharmacists Association, the National Community Pharmacists Association, Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, American College of Clinical Pharmacy, American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations.

“In order for patients to receive optimal care, pharmacists need to have the ability to access and contribute to relevant, patient-specific information from the EHR. The work of the collaborative will focus on achieving this goal,” said Tom Menighan, EVP and CEO of APhA, who will chair the working group.

Serving as its director will be Rachelle “Shelly” Spiro, a pharmacist and long-term care specialist who heads Spiro Consulting. Spiro is active in national pharmacy associations, standards development organizations and is a leader in pharmacy health IT.

For additional information on the Pharmacy e-Health Information Technology Collaborative, contact James Owen, APhA’s director of professional practice, at jowen@aphanet.org.

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Abbott’s multipurpose disinfecting solution for contacts gets FDA OK

BY Antoinette Alexander

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. Abbott has received market clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for RevitaLens Ocutec, a multipurpose disinfecting solution for silicone hydrogel and conventional soft contact lenses.

"This advanced, next-generation solution establishes a new standard of disinfecting technology for contact lens wearers," stated Jim Mazzo, SVP Abbott Medical Optics. "Proper contact lens care, including a rub and rinse regimen using RevitaLens Ocutec, will help patients achieve clean and comfortable lenses while enhancing overall lens-wearing satisfaction."

RevitaLens Ocutec multipurpose disinfecting solution was developed in cooperation with silicone hydrogel, microbiology and chemistry experts and with input from more than 600 eye care professionals.

It is estimated that there are 125 million contact lens wearers worldwide. Multipurpose solutions represent the majority of systems used for the care of soft contact lenses. These are comprised of a single solution for the rinsing, cleaning, disinfection and storage of lenses, and typically are composed of a preservative, buffer system and other agents to aid in lens cleaning and comfort.

 

Key characteristics of RevitaLens Ocutec multipurpose disinfecting solution include:

  • High micro-organism kill rates;
  • Removes proteins from the lens surface;
  • Effectively kills acanthamoeba and fusarium;
  • Reduces corneal staining; and
  • Minimizes the risk of eye complications.

 

Abbott plans to begin retail shipment of RevitaLens Ocutec multipurpose disinfecting solution in the United States in October. The product also has CE Mark approval in Europe.

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