A newly launched 6-month pilot program aims use cell phones as a hotline to critical updates on medical products. The free text message service joins the e-mail digests, RSS feeds, podcasts, and Web sites that comprise MedWatch, the FDA’s safety information and Adverse Event Reporting System. Pharmacists who register will receive 3 to 5 weekly safety alerts on prescription and OTC drugs—including vaccines, supplements, and cosmetics—as well as medical devices and equipment.
According to MedWatch Medical Director Norman S. Marks, MD, MHA, the service is the first step to delivering targeted, patient-specific information that can be used to impact decisions at the point of care. The FDA’s ultimate aspiration, Marks said in a statement, is for drug-specific safety alerts to coordinate with patients’ electronic health records.
To sign up for the service, text FDA to 87000. For more information, visit www.fda.gov.
Parata Max Earns Green Certification
Pharmacies equipped with Parata Max can breathe easier this spring, according to a recent announcement by Parata Systems. In March, the trusted pharmacy automator earned its place among a select group of GREENGUARDcertified products that promote better air quality in homes, offices, and retail spaces through reduced chemical and particle emissions.
The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) develops its criteria based on input from public health groups and government regulatory agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the State of California, among others. Products seeking certification must undergo rigorous testing for more than 2000 chemicals that can cause significant health problems when circulated through indoor ventilation systems.
“We hope to encourage others to embrace this ‘gold standard’ for air quality in pharmacies,” said Tom Rhoads, Parata’s executive vice president of sales, marketing, and service. For more information, visit www.paratasystems.com/.
WebMD Launches Social Media Platform
The explosive growth of social networking sites has encouraged the development of smaller, niche networks designed to connect patients who share a diagnosis. WebMD is the latest site to launch its own network, WebMD Health Exchange.
WebMD’s new community is divided into exchanges, each focused on a specific condition or patient interest. Some are moderated by experts selected by WebMD; others are created by members. All exchanges let patients post discussion topics, tips, and resources. A prominent link to the FDA Web site encourages users to report side effects of prescription medications to MedWatch.
WebMD Health Exchange taps into this desire, and has demonstrated a commitment to continuous tweaks and revisions based heavily on user feedback. This strategy, combined with WebMD’s dedicated base of more than 60 million monthly users, could give the site a competitive edge. To join the network, visit www.WebMD.com.
Diabetes System Rivals Human Pancreas
Medtronic’s new MiniMed Paradigm REAL-Time Revel System offers an intuitive alternative to traditional diabetes management. The device is the first of its kind to intelligently combine an insulin pump, a wireless transmitter, and a continuous glucose meter with therapy management software that tracks blood sugar trends and identifies abnormalities over time.
Using the system’s advanced insulin pump, patients can quickly change basal delivery patterns based on factors such as illness, exercise, and stress. Insulin delivery can be further customized to accommodate greater insulin sensitivity in children or reduced sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Combined with the continuous glucose meter, the wireless transmitter delivers continuously updated information on blood glucose levels. The system also delivers predictive alerts to warn patients of hypoglycemic events before they occur.
Using Medtronic’s CareLink Personal software, patients can use reports, charts, and graphs to examine patterns and make adjustments to medication therapy and diet as needed. The system was recently approved by the FDA and is currently available for purchase at www.medtronicdiabetes.com. â–
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