US Pharm. 2008;33(3):8.

U.S. Prescription Drug Use at All-Time High

St. Louis, MO -- A report by pharmacy benefit manager, Express Scripts, revealed that more U.S. adults are taking prescription drugs than ever before, which accounted for $12 billion in additional spending during 2006 alone. The Geographic Variation in Prescription Utilization study uncovered that the number of people with at least one prescription increased from 67% to 74% between 2000 and 2006. This translates to the number of prescriptions per person increasing from 10.8 to 14.3, a 32% increase over the past six years. The study also indicated a correlation between spending for antidiabetic and antihypertensive prescription drugs and rising obesity in the states with the top five obesity rates (West Virginia, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas).

Sea Algae May Be Key to Potent Anticancer Drug
San Diego, CA -- A team of researchers at the Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center at the University of California located here believe they have identified a potent new anticancer drug isolated from a toxic blue-green algae found in the waters off the coast of Fiji. The somocystinamide A (ScA) compound was found in the cyanobacteria L. majuscula, also known as "mermaid's hair." The researchers found that ScA inhibits neovascularization, the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors, and also has a direct negative impact on tumor cell proliferation. Putting the importance of this discovery into perspective, William Gerwick from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, commented that if a normal-sized swimming pool full of cancer cells were treated with ScA, it would take only 3 mg (about the weight of a grain of rice) to kill all of the cancer cells. According to Dwayne G. Stupack, associate professor of pathology at Moores UCSD Cancer Center, "the compound isn't toxic to the cyanobacteria itself, but activates a ëdeath pathway' present in our cells. When the cells of the blood vessels that feed tumors become activated and proliferate, they become especially sensitive to this agent."

Wal-Mart to Open New Prototype In-Store Clinics
Bentonville, AR -- Wal-Mart plans on opening in-store clinics that will be co-branded with local community hospitals under the banner name "The Clinic at Wal-Mart." The first stores are scheduled to debut in Atlanta, Little Rock, and Dallas. The retail giant said that it plans on operating 400 such clinics by 2010. It has already signed a letter of intent to work with RediClinic, LLC and local hospital systems to open co-branded walk-in clinics in 200 Wal-Mart Supercenters. Each clinic will operate seven days a week.

NACDS Debuts Pharmacy Ad Campaign
Bonita Springs, FL-- A new advertising campaign that stresses the importance of pharmacies to the nation's well being was unveiled at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores' (NACDS) Regional Chain Conference held here. The ads, which feature the tagline "Pharmacies. The Face of Neighborhood Healthcare," highlight the importance of pharmacies and pharmacists, including convenience, accessibility, expertise, prevention of drug interactions, and counseling patients to take their medications as prescribed. The ads are being targeted towards Capitol Hill, the Executive Branch, the media, and opinion leaders "inside the Beltway" in Washington, DC. They will start appearing this month in local publications, transit settings, and on drive time radio and online.

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