Tag Archives: medicine

Sentry Raises Public Awareness for DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Initiative

As part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Initiative (NTBI), people will be able to dispose of expired, unwanted or unused prescription drugs on Saturday, October 22, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at numerous collection sites around the U.S.

The DEA collected a record amount of meds during the 11th annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 30, 2016.  According to the DEA’s May 6, 2016 press release, the DEA and over 4,200 of its state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners collected 893,498 pounds of unwanted medicines—about 447 tons—at almost 5,400 sites spread through all 50 states, beating its previous high of 390 tons in the spring of 2014 by 57 tons, or more than 114,000 pounds.

dea-take-back-day

The top five states with the largest collections, in order, were:

  1. Texas (almost 40 tons)
  2. California (32 tons)
  3. Wisconsin (31 tons)
  4. Illinois (24 tons)
  5. Massachusetts (24 tons)

“I am very proud of our state officials and residents,” said Ms. Jennifer Marcum, Sentry BioPharma Services’ chief executive officer.  Ms. Marcum continued, “Indiana’s authorities collected 29,125 pounds (14.6 tons).  That’s an enormous amount of unwanted prescription drugs and controlled substances to be safely removed from the pharmaceutical supply chain.  The statistics best illustrate how much the people of Indiana care about this important matter; no question about it.”

Marcum continued, “During the event, people can anonymously bring unwanted prescription pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter (OTC) medications to a participating drop-off site for proper drug disposal by law enforcement authorities with no questions asked.  The service is free and an ideal way to preserve the environment from pharmaceutical contamination.  This is a terrific opportunity to safely dispose of accumulated prescription drugs and medications that may have expired or are simply unwanted.”

The FDA’s Ilisa Bernstein, Pharm.D., J.D., offers a few more helpful tips when discarding drugs:

  1. Scratch out all identifying information on the prescription label to make it unreadable. This will help protect your identity and the privacy of your personal health information.
  2. Do not give your medicine to friends. Doctors prescribe medicines based on your specific symptoms and medical history. Something that works for you could harm another person.
  3. When in doubt about proper drug disposal, ask your pharmacist.

For more information about the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Initiative, general public inquiries can be made by calling the DEA toll free at: 1-800-882-9539.

If you would like to learn more about Sentry’s pharmaceutical drug destruction services, please contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400.

FDA Releases Flu Vaccine Lots for the 2016-2017 Season

Cumulative 2016/2017 Season Lot Release Status (Updated 8/3/2016)

Flu vaccine lots that have been released by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and are available for national distribution by the vaccine manufacturers.

Manufacturer Total Number of Lots Released by FDA
Afluria – Seqirus Pty. Ltd. 19
Fluad – Seqirus, Inc. 0
Fluarix Quadrivalent – GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals 23
Flublok – Protein Sciences Corporation 0
Flucelvax Quadrivalent – Seqirus, Inc. 0
FluLaval Quadrivalent – ID Biomedical Corporation of Quebec 3
FluMist Quadrivalent – MedImmune, LLC 3
Fluvirin – Seqirus Vaccines Limited 9
Fluzone High Dose – Sanofi Pasteur, Inc. 2
Fluzone Quadrivalent – Sanofi Pasteur, Inc. 14

FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) met in Silver vials_v1Spring, Maryland, on March 4, 2016, to select the influenza viruses for the composition of the influenza vaccine for the 2016-2017 U.S. influenza season. During this meeting, the advisory committee reviewed and evaluated the surveillance data related to epidemiology and antigenic characteristics of recent influenza isolates, serological responses to 2015-2016 vaccines, and the availability of candidate strains and reagents.

The committee recommended that the trivalent formulation influenza vaccines for the U.S. 2016-2017 influenza season contain the following:

  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus;
  • an A/Hong Kong /4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus
  • a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (B/Victoria lineage).

The committee also recommended that quadrivalent influenza vaccines contain the above three strains and the following additional B strain:

  • a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage)

Secure GMP storage and flu vaccine distribution services protect your refrigerated inventory throughout the temperature-controlled supply chain.  For more information about how Sentry’s vaccine storage and proven vaccine management system can protect your vaccine throughout the global supply chain, contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400.

For information on seasonal flu vaccine distribution schedules, please contact the manufacturers listed in the table above directly.

The CDC & Sentry Gear Up for the 2016 Flu Season

Even though nearly half of the United States (U.S.) population gets a flu vaccine annually, the impact of influenza remains high. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the flu costs the U.S. more than $87 billion annually and is responsible for the loss of close to 17 million workdays each flu season. Tens of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands die from flu-related illnesses each year in the U.S.

Sentry BioPharma Services gears up for the 2016 flu season by promoting three strategies to combat illness:

  1. Get the 2016 flu vaccine.
  2. Exercise good health habits.
  3. See your doctor for an antiviral medication to treat the flu if you get sick.

August 29, 2013, Atlanta, GA - Chris Summerrow (left), Director of Business and Continuity Management, UPS, speaks with Dr. Ali Khan, Director, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, in the Emergency Operations Center at the CDC.

Flu Vaccine Facts

The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Trivalent vaccines are made to protect against three flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. Quadrivalent vaccines protect against four viruses; the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine as well as an additional B virus.

Flu vaccines CANNOT cause the flu. Flu vaccines are made with either killed or weakened viruses.

Flu vaccines are safe. Serious problems from the flu vaccine are very rare. The most common side effect that a person is likely to experience is either soreness at the injection site, or runny nose in the case of nasal spray. These side effects are generally mild and usually go away after a day or two. Visit Influenza Vaccine Safety for more information.

Can the flu be treated?

Yes. There are prescription medications called “antiviral drugs” that can be used to treat influenza illness.

What are antiviral drugs?

Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines (pills, liquid, an inhaled powder, or an intravenous solution) that fight against the flu in your body. Antiviral drugs are not sold over-the-counter. You can only get them if you have a prescription from your doctor or health care provider. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics, which fight against bacterial infections.

What should I do if I think I have the flu?

If you get the flu, antiviral drugs are a treatment option. Check with your doctor promptly if you have a high risk condition and you get flu symptoms. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs to treat your flu illness.

Should I still get a flu vaccine?

Yes. Antiviral drugs are a second line of defense to treat the flu if you get sick. A flu vaccine is still the first and best way to prevent influenza.

What are the benefits of antiviral drugs?

When used for treatment, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and shorten the time you are sick by 1 or 2 days. They also can prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia. For people with a high risk medical condition, treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having milder illness instead of very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.

What are the possible side effects of antiviral drugs?

Some side effects have been associated with the use of flu antiviral drugs, including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, runny or stuffy nose, cough, diarrhea, headache and some behavioral side effects. These are uncommon. Your doctor can give you more information about these drugs or you can check the CDC or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) websites.

When should antiviral drugs be taken for treatment?

Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within 2 days of getting sick. However, starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person has a high risk health condition or is very sick from the flu. Follow instructions for taking these drugs.

What antiviral drugs are recommended this flu season?

There are three FDA-approved influenza antiviral drugs recommended by CDC this season to treat influenza. The brand names for these are Tamiflu® (generic name oseltamivir), Relenza® (generic name zanamivir), and Rapivab® (generic name peramivir). Tamiflu® is available as a pill or liquid and Relenza® is a powder that is inhaled. (Relenza® is not for people with breathing problems like asthma or COPD, for example.) Rapivab® is administered intravenously by a health care provider.

How long should antiviral drugs be taken?

To treat the flu, Tamiflu® and Relenza® are usually prescribed for 5 days, although people hospitalized with the flu may need the medicine for longer than 5 days. Rapivab® is administered intravenously for 15 to 30 minutes.

Secure GMP storage and flu vaccine distribution services protect your refrigerated inventory throughout the temperature-controlled supply chain.  For more information about how Sentry’s vaccine storage and proven vaccine management system can protect your vaccine throughout the global supply chain, contact Sentry via email or by phone at 1-866-757-7400.