HEALTH

Washington, Mo., considers repealing recently passed PSE legislation

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON, Mo. The city of Washington, located some 50 mi. west of St. Louis and boasting some 50,000 denizens, on Monday considered repealing legislation passed last month that reclassified products containing pseudoephedrine as prescription-only for the approximate 12 pharmacies (including Walgreens and Target) that operate within city limits.

On one side of the argument is Franklin County Sgt. Jason Grellner, who argues that restricting the sale of pseudoephedrine a la the state of Oregon, the only state that requires PSE products to be dispensed only by prescription, is the only measure to effectively stop the diversion of PSE into illegal methamphetamine.

On the other side is a host of associations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Missouri Retailers Association and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, all of whom question the legality behind a local jurisdiction legislating drug laws.

At stake is more than just the restricted sale of PSE products in one small city west of St. Louis, because if the legislation passes and stands, it sets a precedent for the thousands of local governments across the country to pass legislation on the appropriate distribution of medicines. However unlikely the scenario, that precedent would open the door to a prohibitively expensive, chaotic distribution model that would restrict sales of those medicines beyond prescription/non-prescription mandates if retailers or suppliers decide the product is simply too costly to bring to market.

Nearby, Hillsboro-Jefferson County council members are already considering similar legislation, and will entertain public comments Aug. 18, according to published reports. Cities such as Union, St. Clair and Sullivan are also considering similar ordinances.

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MinuteClinic inks deal with American CareSource

BY DSN STAFF

MinuteClinic’s partnership with ancillary care network services company American CareSource not only underscores the fact that the medical community is embracing the clinic model and encouraging use, but it also aims to help reduce healthcare insurance expenses for ACS members at a time when healthcare costs and reform are top of mind.

 

According to David Boone, CEO of ACS, a primary objective of the company is to provide clients, and ultimately the consumer, with more cost effective and convenient alternatives to hospital- and physician office-based services. Obviously, ACS understands the importance and value of the convenient care industry given that it selected CVS Caremark’s MinuteClinic business to help it meet that goal.

 

 

As previously reported by Drug Store News, a 2008 HealthPartners study found that care delivered in such retail-based medical clinics as MinuteClinic are between 32% and 35% less, compared with care delivered in physician offices and urgent care locations. That study which was one of the first to analyze cost and care in retail clinics, examined five of the most common conditions seen in MinuteClinics: sore throat, ear infections, sinus infections, pink eye and bladder and kidney infections.

 

 

Meanwhile, for the convenient care industry, news of the partnership between MinuteClinic and ACS is yet one more nod to the fact that the medical community is embracing the retail-based clinic model and understands the quality, affordable care that these clinics offer patients.

 

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CDC: H1N1 virus expected to make a large impact on upcoming cough/cold/flu season

BY Drug Store News Team

NEW YORK Today’s novel H1N1 news scare may very well turn out to be a “boy who cried SARS” scenario, in which all the news hype drives frenzied concern through the American consciousness but never culminates into a sharp rise in demand of products — antivirals, N-95 facemasks, hand sanitizers — potentially leaving suppliers and retailers with more inventory than they know what to do with.

 

That’s because for every report out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that suggests the sky may in fact soon be falling, those reports are hedged by acknowledgements that the H1N1 virus is just as likely to be innocuous as it is even more deadly.

 

To be sure, nobody can really predict a possible viral mutation — and whether that mutation will produce more severe or less severe illness —  outside of the fact that the possibility for mutation exists. It’s got to be like predicting next week’s weather — which is 90% accurate only half the time.

But this we do know. The government is dedicating significant resources against any worse-case scenarios, including a CDC inclined to keep the public informed through regular press briefings. And unlike SARS, which generally got as close to American citizens as Canada but no further, the novel H1N1 virus continues to course through American communities even today, suggesting there will be an up tic in cases with the coming flu season.

That initial resumption of influenza-like illnesses coupled with regular CDC press briefings is likely to drive quite a bit of news coverage in the coming months, news coverage that will significantly drive awareness around the issue. And that suggests that many more Americans will be interested in flu vaccines this year, certainly more than the 40% of the recommended group who were inoculated last year. It also suggests that more and more Americans will be interested in taking CDC-recommended preventative measures such as using hand sanitizers (though demand around N-95 facemasks, which are not recommended for general use by CDC, may not be as great).

So retailers and suppliers should prepare for an interesting season, arming their healthcare professionals with information and stocking their shelves with the appropriate merchandise, because while nobody can predict whether the coming storm will produce scattered showers or fist-sized hail, you can rest assured something will be falling out of that sky.

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