PHARMACY

Zebra to provide industry printer services to Managed Healthcare Associates

BY Alaric DeArment

VERNON HILLS, Pa. A company that provides printing services for the healthcare industry and the country’s largest alternate-site GPO have signed a three-year agreement to provide barcode and card printers.

Zebra Technologies will provide Managed Healthcare Associates with its printers, as well as supplies and service agreements, at almost 500 of MHA’s member facilities for identification, tracking and access-control applications.

“Increasing patient safety is among the highest priorities in healthcare today,” MHA contract coordinator Kelly Decker said. “Having effective information technology in place is a key step in building a culture of safety that enables providers to improve outcomes and quality of care throughout their organizations.”

According to the Institute of Medicine, at least 1.5 million preventable adverse drug events happen every year in the United States, thought bar coding has been shown to reduce dangerous and expensive medical errors.

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HealthPartners site helps Minneapolis area patients estimate healthcare costs

BY Alaric DeArment

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. A healthcare organization has launched a Web site that quotes prices for 83 procedures at the primary care and radiology centers in its network in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.

HealthPartners announced the launch Tuesday. The price listings are in the ?Find a Provider/Clinic? section of its Web site, www.healthpartners.com.

The prices listed are for five high-volume service categories, including office visits, immunizations and vaccines, lab services, X-rays and CTs and MRIs. For example, a wrist X-ray at one of the clinics costs $61.60, while an influenza test costs $29.18.

“This is an important step forward in transparency because the information we provide is for specific prices rather than a range,” HealthPartners senior vice president for customer service and product innovation Scott Aebischer said. “This information is particularly useful for members who are paying out-of-pocket fees.”

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FDA challenges Bayer’s TV commercial claims about Yaz

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The Food and Drug Administration told Bayer in a letter Tuesday that two of the company’s TV commercials for its premenstrual dysphoric disorder drug Yaz are misleading.

The FDA said one commercial suggests the drug is approved for treating post-menopausal syndrome by saying it treats irritability, moodiness and bloating—symptoms common to PMDD and PMS. That commercial, which featured women hitting balloons while singing “We’re not gonna take it,” has been pulled.

The second commercial had the song “Good-Bye to You” and women releasing balloons with symptoms written on them. The FDA said evidence has not demonstrated that Yaz eliminates symptoms, even though the commercial suggests that it does.

Yaz (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol) had global sales of $1.42 billion in 2007, according to Bayer financial data.

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