HEALTH

American Forces Press Service confirms swine flu case in Calif.

BY Michael Johnsen

ARLINGTON, Va. The American Forces Press Service on Wednesday confirmed a swine flu case at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif.

A male Marine reported to a medical clinic on base over the weekend complaining of flu-like symptoms, the report read. Initial test results indicate the H1N1 virus, and the service is waiting for further results from testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Marine Corps Gen. James Conway said. The Marine and his roommate have both been quarantined.

“Our base commanders are all very much attentive to what’s taking place,” Conway said during a press briefing Wednesday. “The battalion surgeon, a very aggressive, young Navy lieutenant, has identified 37 other Marines that he has come in contact with, over the weekend, before he came in. Those people have also been, at this point, set aside. And they’re being watched and tested and given the Tamiflu, to prevent any further exposure to the disease, on their part.”

The 37 are not officially quarantined, but are not allowed in public places such as unit formations and dining facilities.

The southern-California base is about 200 miles from the Mexican border, but the Marine had not visited Mexico, Conway said.

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NAD recommends halt of Claritin ‘RediTabs’ broadcast ads

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus on Monday recommended that Schering-Plough, maker of the over-the-counter allergy medication Claritin “RediTabs,” discontinue broadcast advertising that features high-speed raceway images.

NAD, the advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, examined broadcast advertising for the product following a challenge by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, the maker of competing OTC allergy medications Benadryl and Zyrtec.

NAD considered whether the race car imagery and narration in the commercial imply that Claritin RediTabs OTC provides the fastest relief of allergy symptoms.

The challenged advertising features NASCAR racecars running a track as Carl Edwards, a well-known NASCAR driver, appears and explains that “speed is important” to him and that when his allergies hit, he uses Claritin RediTabs, “the fastest dissolving allergy medicine.”  A statement that “Speed of dissolution does not imply speed of relief” appears simultaneously on the screen.

Following its review of the evidence, including a consumer perception survey provided by the challenger, NAD determined one reasonable takeaway from the commercial is that RediTabs provides very fast or instantaneous relief of allergy symptoms in comparison to competing allergy medicines. Further, NAD determined that the disclosure “Speed of dissolution does not imply speed of relief” contradicted, rather than limited, the main message of very fast or instantaneous allergy relief.

NAD recommended that the commercial be permanently discontinued and that future advertising avoid imagery and claims that imply that Claritin RediTabs provide very fast or instantaneous allergy relief.

Schering-Plough, in its advertiser’s statement, said it that while the company did not intend to convey a claim of instant relief, it “greatly respects NAD and the NAD process and will take this decision into account in crafting its future advertisements.”

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McKesson appoints chief technology officer

BY Allison Cerra

SAN FRANCISCO A McKesson executive is moving up the ranks.

McKesson Corp. announced that Randy Spratt, EVP and CIO, has been promoted to the newly-created position of chief technology officer, while retaining his responsibilities as the company’s CIO.

As chief technology officer, Spratt will guide the overall technology direction for the company’s healthcare technology products, and provide support and guidance for application development processes companywide. The position will serve as a support arm to the management teams within McKesson’s technology businesses, working collaboratively with each business to optimize the quality, interoperability, and transparency of McKesson’s software development operations.

“As our healthcare system increasingly looks to technology to improve both the quality and efficiency of care delivery, we see a tremendous opportunity to accelerate our progress in providing integrated, interoperable technology solutions,” said John Hammergren, chairman and CEO of McKesson. “Randy has an outstanding track record in establishing processes that have streamlined how we plan, build and deploy our technologies internally, and I am confident that he can apply the same level of focused guidance to the development and deployment of our customer-facing solutions. At McKesson we are committed to ensuring the highest levels of customer satisfaction and to delivering a high return on investment for our customers. This decision will support world class results in both areas.”

Spratt has served as McKesson’s CIO since 2005, with responsibility for all internal technology initiatives within the Corporation. Spratt has been with McKesson for more than 18 years, most recently as chief process officer for McKesson Provider Technologies, the company’s medical software and services division based in Alpharetta, Ga.

“I am excited to be involved in the product side of our business again, and I am looking forward to working with the leaders of our software development businesses to establish broad technology plans, improve interoperability of our technology solutions, and optimize our development processes and activities,” said Spratt. “We are committed to developing best-in-class, integrated solutions that improve our customers’ business and clinical performance, and provide a more connected healthcare system that benefits us all.”

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