PHARMACY

CDC survey finds adults are not getting important vaccines

BY Drew Buono

WASHINGTON According to a new survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 2 percent of adults last year received a shot that could have protected them from shingles, according to Reuters. What’s worse is that adults also fail to get vaccines for other illnesses like, tetanus, whooping cough and influenza.

The CDC surveyed 7,000 adults as part of its annual look at childhood vaccinations and found very low levels of adult vaccination. It found that most adults cannot name more than one or two diseases that they can get a vaccine to prevent. Just under half could name the influenza vaccine, and at the most, 18 percent could name each of any of the other vaccines.

The agency and its advisers recommend that adults get shots to protect against chicken pox, diphtheria, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, the human papillomavirus—which can cause cervical cancer—influenza, measles, meningitis, mumps, pertussis or whooping cough, pneumonia, rubella or German measles, shingles and tetanus.

“Combined, these infectious diseases kill more Americans annually than breast cancer, HIV/AIDS or traffic accidents,” said Vanderbilt University’s William Schaffner, vice president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

While childhood vaccination rates were very high—because they are required for the children for school admission—doctors forget to prescribe these vaccines for adults and those same people also forget to ask for them, according to industry experts.

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FDA halts clinical trial of ALS drug

BY Drew Buono

LOS ANGELES The Food and Drug Administration has told CytRx to stop its clinical trial of the drug arimoclomol, which is being developed to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, because of the need for additional analysis of previous animal studies involving the drug, according to published reports.

CytRx said in a release that it has asked for further clarification from the FDA, and said that “arimoclomol has been shown to be safe and well-tolerated after being administered to about 185 study volunteers.”

ALS is a progressive condition that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

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Study indicates that drive-through can distract pharmacists

BY Drew Buono

COLUMBUS, Ohio A new study in the International Journal for Quality in Health Care has indicated that pharmacists who work at stores with drive through windows are more likely to be distracted and those distractions can lead to processing delays, reduced efficiency and even dispensing errors.

The pharmacists who were surveyed reported that the design and layout of their workplaces has an impact on dispensing accuracy, especially the presence of drive-through window pick-up services. Results also indicate that automated dispensing systems in pharmacies are likely to reduce the potential for errors and enhance efficiency.

Even with stringent internal quality controls, pharmacists nationally make an estimated 5.7 errors per 10,000 prescriptions processed, according to the study, which translates to more than 2.2 million dispensing errors each year.

According to the survey, pharmacists perceive that the drive-through window has the biggest impact on causing pharmacists and their staff to take extra steps (average agreement response of 3.7 on a 5-point scale); reducing efficiency (average response of 3.8); and causing delays in prescription processing (average response of 3.7). The respondents also attributed dispensing errors (average response of 3.2) and communication errors (average response of 3.3) to the presence of a drive-through window.

“A pharmacist or staff member could be responsible for four or five tasks, and serving people at the drive-through window is just one of them,” said Sheryl Szeinbach, the study’s lead author. “Some people seeking the convenience of the drive-through window don’t care about getting information. They just want the medication, and they want it as fast as possible. They should probably think about that and at least look at the medication and make sure it’s OK. And if they have questions, it may behoove them to come into the pharmacy.”

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