Monday, July 19, 2010

Flu vaccine nasal spray coming to Canada

From CTV News:
or Canadians who don't get the flu shot because of the whole "shot" part, a new option is now available. A nasal spray flu vaccine has just received Health Canada's approval.

The product is called FluMist and will be sold in Canada by AstraZeneca.

FluMist has been on the U.S. market since 2003 and is the only non-injectable flu vaccine in North America. It's now approved in Canada for the prevention of seasonal influenza in Canadians two to 59 years of age.

FluMist is a mist that is sprayed into the nose, allowing the vaccine to enter the nose to deliver an active, attenuated (weakened) form of three flu viruses into the body.

It should be administered by a health care professional, although in Alberta, pharmacists will be able to administer the vaccine themselves. The cost of a dose hasn't yet been decided. ...more

Diabetics shouldn't stop drug without doctor OK

From CBC News:
Medical experts are warning people taking a controversial diabetes drug not to change their medication without consulting their doctor.

The warning comes after an American advisory panel voiced major concerns over the drug Avandia (Rosiglitazone), but eventually voted to recommend it be allowed to stay on the U.S. market.

Studies have suggested the GlaxoSmithKline drug raises the risk of heart attacks, strokes and death in some users.

In 2007, Health Canada issued usage restrictions on Avandia due to cardiovascular risks. At that time, the health agency said that Avandia was no longer approved for use alone to treat Type 2 diabetes, nor approved for use with a sulfonylurea drug except when the drug metformin is contraindicated or not tolerated. ...more

Pharmacists run doctor show

From the Calcutta (India) Telegraph:
Pharmacists in the state capital are prescribing medicines in the absence of doctors at some unit hospitals or zonal dispensaries.

Shortage of doctors has become so acute that they are now being rotated to attend services at Capital Hospital, the nearest referral facility, to manage the patient inflow.

Hence, in their absence at some unit hospitals, pharmacists and even paramedics are issuing prescriptions for patients.

Asked about the new role of some pharmacists at zonal dispensaries, chief medical officer of Capital Hospital Dr Gangadhar Rath said: “Pharmacists cannot write prescriptions. They should only distribute medicines.” ...more

Pharmacist gets 'sweet' revenge on pill-snatching thief

From WOAI (TX):
The front doors of the building were broken by burglars, and small pieces of glass litter the floor. And, it's not for the first time.

“You know, this pharmacist has been burglarized several times. This pharmacist has just had enough,” explained Glynda Chu of the Edmond Police Department.

Like so many pharmacies, the workers at Clinic Pharmarcy have been victimized over and over again by pill-seeking thieves.

“You know, they steal money from banks because that's where the money is," Chu said. "The same with pharmacies, cause that's where the drugs are kept.”

As a non-violent way to spoil the thefts, the pharmacist recently emptied several bottles of hydrocodone pills, filling the bottles, instead, with M&Ms. As a result, when burglars stole the prescription bottles, only M&Ms poured out. ...more

Vitamin D levels linked to Parkinson's disease risk

From AFP:
Greater levels of vitamin D have been linked to a lower risk of Parkinson's disease in a study in Finland where low sunlight leads to a chronic lack of the nutrient, researchers said Monday.

Scientists from the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland, first hypothesized that Parkinson's "may be caused by a continuously inadequate vitamin D status leading to a chronic loss of dopaminergic neurons in the brain."

Vitamin D, supplied chiefly by the sun's ultraviolet rays and a small range of foods, is known to play a role in bone health and may also be linked to cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, the researchers said.

The Finnish study, published in the July issue of Archives of Neurology, followed 3,173 Parkinson's-free Finnish men and women aged 50-79 over a 29-year period from 1978-2007. ...more

New system urged to treat rare-disease patients: analysis

From the Globe and Mail:
Government decisions to fund expensive treatments for rare diseases shouldn’t be made on an ad hoc basis that leaves countless patients out in the cold, says a new analysis published Monday by the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Canada needs a new system that would allow policy makers to measure the effectiveness of treatments while connecting rare-disease patients with much-needed drugs, wrote Chaim Bell, co-author of the analysis and associate professor of medicine and health policy management at the University of Toronto.

The issue of rare diseases and access to treatment has been brewing for years. Canada has long been criticized by rare-disease patients and health experts for not having a formal policy that allows access to “orphan drugs,” or those that are used to treat rare diseases. It’s one of the few developed countries that doesn’t have one.

Without a formal policy, there is too much red tape and not enough financial incentives for drug companies to obtain approval for these products in Canada because the market is relatively small. As a result, patients may have no way of getting certain drugs or have to pay exorbitant amounts for them. ...more