President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology seeks to minimize swine flu impact on nation
WASHINGTON A presidential advisory group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers on Monday released a report assessing the Obama administration’s preparations for this fall’s expected resurgence of H1N1 flu, and outlining key steps officials can take in the coming weeks and months to minimize the disease’s impact on the nation.
Among the plausible scenarios around which the nation needs to prepare, according to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, include:
- Infection of 30% to 50% of the U.S. population this fall and winter, with symptoms in approximately 20% to 40% of the population (between 60 million and 120 million people), more than half of whom would seek medical attention;
- As many as 1.8 million U.S. hospital admissions during the epidemic, with up to 300,000 patients requiring care in intensive care units. These very ill patients could occupy 50% to 100% of all ICU beds in affected regions of the country at the peak of the epidemic and could place enormous stress on ICU units, which normally operate close to capacity;
- Between 30,000 and 90,000 deaths in the United States, concentrated among children and young adults. In contrast, the 30,000 to 40,000 annual deaths typically associated with seasonal flu in the United States occur mainly among people over 65; and
- The fall resurgence may well occur as early as September, with the beginning of the school term, and the peak infection may occur in mid-October. Traditionally, seasonal influenza peaks in late January through February.
“The President has been clear from day one that he wants our H1N1 flu response to be guided by science,” stated Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “He also has made it clear that he believes that responding to the flu is a shared responsibility, one that requires the efforts of every American and cooperation between the private and public sectors. … The Department of Health and Human Services, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration, has already made some important progress on the recommendations found in the [President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology] subcommittee report and we plan to adopt others to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep Americans healthy and safe.”
Overall, the panel of scientists noted they were “deeply impressed” with the government’s preparation for the coming pandemic responsibly. The panel also stressed that prevention through proper hygiene and cold-flu etiquette may play a significant role in stemming the spread of H1N1 this fall.
“As this PCAST report notes, it is not possible to predict how the 2009-H1N1 influenza virus or the upcoming influenza season will play out, but it is best that we plan and prepare for a resurgence of H1N1 flu,” commented Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. “HIN1 influenza has the potential to affect virtually every aspect of our lives, from our economy and national security to our education system. It may not be possible to stop influenza, but we can reduce the number of people who become severely ill by preparing well and acting effectively.”
FDA approves Ranbaxy’s generic peptic ulcer treatment
PRINCETON, N.J. The Food and Drug Administration has given an India-based drug maker final approval to market a generic drug for treating peptic ulcer.
Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals, a U.S. subsidiary of Ranbaxy Labs, announced Monday the approval of glycopyrrolate tablets in the 1-mg and 2-mg strengths. The drug is a generic version of Sciele Pharma’s Robinul and Robinul Forte tablets, respectively.
“We are pleased to receive this final approval for glycopyrrolate tablets,” Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals VP sales and distribution Jim Meehan said in a statement.
Meehan said the drug would be launched between October and December. Glycopyrrolate tablets had sales of $26 million during the 12-month period ending in June, according to IMS Health data.
Supervalu EVP joins NACDS board of directors
ALEXANDRIA, Va. An organization catering to the retail pharmacy industry has elected a new member to its board.
The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced that Duncan Mac Naughton, EVP merchandising and marketing for Supervalu, was elected to the board of directors, effective Aug. 14. Mac Naughton will fill the position vacated by Kevin Tripp, who recently retired as Supervalu’s EVP of its retail Midwest division.
Mac Naughton will serve the remainder of the 2009-2010 term until April 2010, when the annual board of directors elections are held at the NACDS Annual Meeting.
Mac Naughton has a career of service within the supermarket industry. He has served on SUPERVALU’s executive team since joining the company in 2006 upon its acquisition of Albertsons, where Mac Naughton had served as executive vice president of merchandising. Prior to Albertsons, he served in key leadership roles at H-E-B and Kraft Foods.
“We are pleased to welcome Duncan to the NACDS Board of Directors,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “NACDS’ diverse membership is well-represented by the NACDS Board of Directors. Duncan brings leadership and expertise on behalf of the supermarket segment, and we look forward to working together to advance pharmacy as the face of neighborhood healthcare and to add value to NACDS’ engagement in front-end activities.”