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CVS/pharmacy participates in Pepsi Refresh Project

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. CVS/pharmacy, Boundless Playgrounds and Pepsi are teaming together to build a new playground for children of all abilities as part of the Pepsi Refresh Project.

From now until Sept. 28 at noon ET, the public is asked to visit BoundlessPlay.RefreshEverything.com and vote on which playground idea should receive $70,000 in funding to build a Boundless Playground. Voting is limited to one vote per person per day. The website will announce the winning idea on Sept. 28.

The partnership with the Pepsi Refresh Project is made possible through CVS Caremark All Kids Can, a 5-year, $25 million commitment to support children with disabilities. Since 2006, CVS Caremark All Kids Can has supported Boundless Playgrounds and donated more than $4 million, which has resulted in the building of more than 50 Boundless Playgrounds nationwide.

“Our goal with All Kids Can is to help all children succeed in life. A Boundless Playground has a real impact on a child’s physical and emotional development, and we’re thrilled to be a part of creating an environment that encourages all children to learn and play with one another,” stated Eileen Howard Dunn, SVP community relations for CVS Caremark. “We are excited to be part of the Pepsi Refresh Project and to give people the opportunity to support organizations like Boundless Playgrounds in their commitment to making local communities a better place for all children.”

“We are proud to partner with CVS/pharmacy and Boundless Playgrounds and support their mission to give children of all abilities the opportunity to play together in a fun and welcoming environment,” stated David Regine, Pepsi national account manager for the CVS/pharmacy team. “The Pepsi Refresh Project supports powerful, creative and fun ideas that encourage positive change, and we’re thrilled to be part of an initiative that has and continues to make a difference in the lives of children with all abilities in communities throughout the country.”

Through the Pepsi Refresh Project, Pepsi is awarding more than $20 million in 2010 to fund ideas that move the world forward. The Pepsi Refresh Project is an evolution of the Refresh Everything initiative, which Pepsi launched in 2009. In 2010, Pepsi is funding ideas that will move the world forward in six categories: health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods, and education.

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BioMarin Pharmaceutical acquires ZyStor Therapeutics

BY Alaric DeArment

NOVATO, Calif. BioMarin Pharmaceutical has acquired privately owned biotechnology company ZyStor Therapeutics for $22 million, BioMarin said.

The drug maker said it also would pay ZyStor up to $93 million in milestone payments. The main gem in the deal was ZC-701, ZyStor’s investigative treatment for the lysosomal storage disorder Pompe disease and a potential competitor to Genzyme Corp.’s Pompe disease treatment Myozyme (alglucosidase alfa). A phase 1/2 clinical study of ZC-701 in late-onset Pompe disease is expected to begin in first quarter 2011.

“The acquisition of ZyStor gives us the opportunity to introduce a superior product to fulfill an unmet medical need and is a perfect fit in our core business,” BioMarin CEO Jean-Jacques Bienaime stated. “It not only provides us with a promising product candidate for Pompe disease, but also an exciting new platform technology.”

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Nurse practitioners are vital to a healthy U.S. healthcare system

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT The USA Today article highlighting nurse-managed centers as one “innovative” program that could help fill the primary care physician void is important because it underscores the important role that nurse practitioners play in delivering quality healthcare services.

(THE NEWS: Nurse-managed centers may fill primary care physician void. For the full story, click here)

It is no secret that the healthcare system has been, and will continue to be, under great strain as healthcare costs soar and a shortage of primary care doctors largely contributes to the bottle-necking taking place within emergency rooms.

According to numbers provided by the Convenient Care Association, as few as 2% of medical students coming out of U.S. medical schools intend to pursue a career in general primary care. Also, between 30% and 60% of convenient care clinic patients reported not having a primary care physician. Plus, as many as 40% of convenient care clinic patients said they would have sought costlier care or would have foregone care completely if there had not been a convenient care clinic available.

Clearly, there’s a gap that needs to be filled, and convenient care clinics and such clinics as the Family Practice and Counseling Network in Philadelphia highlighted in the USA Today article, are striving to help fill that gap.

The good news is that the importance of nurse practitioners, as well as the retail-based clinic setting, is not going unnoticed. In fact, Senators Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, and Thad Cochran, D-Miss., in July introduced the Senate resolution officially designating Aug. 2 to 8, 2010, as National Convenient Care Clinic Week.

Now, with about 30 million uninsured gaining healthcare coverage under healthcare reform and patients making fewer physician visits, either because they can’t afford it or can’t get an appointment in a timely fashion, the U.S. healthcare systems needs “innovative” programs and needs nurse practitioners.

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