Technology News

Pharmacy TimesJuly 2010 Digestive Health
Volume 76
Issue 7

Epocrates App Offers “Call Pfizer” Feature

Pharmacists who use Epocrates on an iPhone or iPod touch can now immediately contact a Pfizer representative through the app, the drug manufacturer announced in June.

A “Call Pfizer” link has been added to approximately 40 of the Pfizer products profiled in Epocrates. Tapping the link during normal business hours establishes immediate phone access to one of Pfizer’s medical information specialists, who can provide tailored information about the medication in question or record adverse reactions. For more information, visit Expands Access to FDA Content

Visitors to consumer health site can now view the latest consumer health updates from the FDA, including videos, articles, and slide shows focused on food, medicine, and cosmetic safety.

By reaching out to’s 12 million unique monthly visitors, the FDA hopes to make its consumer health information available to a broader audience. “Partnerships like this are an important part of the FDA’s effort to ensure the public has easy access to reliable, useful information that can help people protect andimprove their health,” said Beth Martino, the FDA’s associate commissioner for external affairs

From the new “FDA Consumer Updates” section of the Web site, patients can download a guide to reporting adverse events, view the latest alerts from the FDA’s MedWatch program, and read feature articles on medication use and FDA policy, among other topics. For more information, visit

EMRs Aid Vaccine Safety Investigation

An analysis of 459,000 electronic pediatric health records by Kaiser Permanente prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to revise its recommendationsfor the MMRV (measles, mumps, rubella, varicella) vaccine in May. The results of the study were published in the July issue of Pediatrics.

Researchers used data gathered from 7 health facilities participating in the CDC’s Vaccine Safety Datalink project. The goal of the study was to determine, based on a large sample size, whether children who receive the combination MMRV vaccine are more likely to experience febrile seizures than those who receive the vaccine in 2 shots—1 for measles, mumps, and rubella, and the other for varicella (MMR +V).

The investigation revealed a 2-fold risk of fever and febrile seizures within 7 to 10 days when using the MMRV vaccine instead of the separate MMR +V vaccine. Based on the finding, the CDC advised that parents “without a strong preference” for the combo MMRV vaccine should instead choose the MMR +V vaccine to protect young children against the elevated risk of seizures.

Older Patients Less Trusting of Google Searches, Prefer Pharmacists

Middle-aged and older patients are morelikely to trust pharmacists over Google searches for health information, according to a national survey of 678 Americans conducted by Capstrat and Public Policy Polling.

When asked whether they consider pharmacists reliable sources of information on personal health care issues, 73% of respondents aged 46 to 65, said pharmacists were “extremely reliable“ or “somewhat reliable.” Within this age group, a total of 56% said the same of Google. Responses were similar for Gen-Xers (aged 30 to 45) and seniors (older than 65).

Unlike their parents and grandparents, Millenials (aged 18 to 29) are far less trusting of pharmacists. Only 25% of patients in the 18-to 29-year-old group said they believed pharmacists were “somewhat reliable” or “extremely reliable.” By comparison, nearly half (49%)said they considered results from Google searches reliable for health information.

In a whitepaper published with the survey, Capstone attributed this disparity to “a sense of nostalgia among the older crowd—many of whom probably still view pharmacists as local notables and influential townspeople.”

Despite the findings, pharmacists’ medical expertise may not be lost on Millenials, according to Capstone president Karen Albritton. “Millennials may be more open to inputfrom traditional medical authorities than we expect—particularly if they connect through the online media channels that are so prominent in their day-to-day lives,” she said.

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