News in Brief: Week of Sept. 9-13

September 11, 2013 03:45 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief]

CDC Offers Guidance During DTaP, Hib Vaccine Shortages

The CDC has updated its vaccine shortages page( to include information regarding supplies of several Sanofi Pasteur vaccines.

As reported in August, Sanofi will be unable to meet demand for the following products until mid-October:

  • diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis adsorbed, inactivated poliovirus and Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccine (DTaP-IPV-Hib: Pentacel);
  • diphtheria and tetanus toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine adsorbed (Daptacel);
  • tetanus toxoids, reduced diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccine adsorbed (Adacel); and
  • tuberculin purified protein derivative (Tubersol Diagnostic Antigen).

DTaP vaccine manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline has said it will help fill supply gaps until Sanofi begins ramping up vaccine production again. The CDC also is making vaccine from its Strategic National Stockpile available to address any remaining gaps.

Although no formal changes in immunization recommendations have been made, the CDC now is providing a guidance document( and a quick reference sheet( to health care professionals that offers information on best practices for using available vaccines during the shortage.

The CDC also has noted that the supply of Sanofi's Hib vaccine ActHIB is "sufficient but tight" because of the delay in the release of Pentacel.

"As a precautionary measure, vaccine ordering in the public and private sectors is being controlled through the end of September 2013 to ensure sufficient supplies for providers ordering this vaccine," the CDC said.

AAFP Endorses ACP Guideline on Oral Pharmacology for Type 2 Diabetes

The AAFP has endorsed an American College of Physicians guideline recommending oral pharmacologic therapy -- typically, with metformin -- for patients with type 2 diabetes when lifestyle modifications fail to improve hyperglycemia.

The guideline, which provides three clinical recommendations( regarding the comparative effectiveness and safety of type 2 diabetes medications, specifically addresses the pharmacologic management of type 2 diabetes patients using agents from any of 11 unique classes of drugs available to treat hyperglycemia. It recommends that clinicians

• add oral pharmacologic therapy for patients with type 2 diabetes in whom lifestyle modifications fail to adequately improve hyperglycemia,
• prescribe monotherapy with metformin for initial pharmacologic therapy to treat most patients, and
• add a second agent to manage patients with persistent hyperglycemia when lifestyle modifications and metformin fail to control hyperglycemia.

HHS Issues Draft Action Plan to Prevent Adverse Drug Events

In an attempt to limit the increasing number of medication errors, overdoses and other unfavorable drug incidents that patients are experiencing, HHS has issued a draft( of its "National Action Plan for Adverse Drug Event Prevention."

According to information on the HHS website(, the agency is trying to identify common, clinically significant, preventable and measurable adverse drug events (ADEs) and align national federal health agency efforts to reduce patient harms from these specific ADEs.

Specifically, HHS plans to reduce patient harms via surveillance, prevention, incentives, oversight and research. To that end, the organization has identified three drug classes associated with "high-priority target" ADEs: anticoagulants, diabetes agents and opioids.

Comments on the draft may be e-mailed to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at through Oct. 3. Written responses should be addressed to the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 1101 Wootton Pkwy., Suite LL100, Rockville MD 20852, Attention: Draft National ADE Action Plan.

Free Webinar Explores the PCMH Model, Home Health

Tune in Monday, Sept. 16, for a free webinar about the home health component of the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model of care. The webinar, titled "Bringing It Home With the PCMH," will run from noon to 1:30 p.m. EDT.

The webinar, which is open for registration, is presented by the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative( and the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation. Among other things, webinar hosts will discuss how to manage chronically ill patients in the context of home health care and how to integrate home health within the medical home model.

IRS Finalizes Penalties for Failing to Obtain Health Insurance Coverage

The Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Treasury have finalized penalties( for people who fail to obtain insurance as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's individual insurance mandate, which takes effect on Jan. 1.

The individual insurance mandate requires nonexempt individuals to carry insurance starting Jan.1 or pay a penalty of $95 per person or 1 percent of household income in 2014. That penalty jumps to $325 per person or 2 percent of income in 2015 and $695 or 2.5 percent of household income in 2016. In subsequent years, the penalty will be determined by a cost-of-living formula.

The final rules exempt the following individuals from the insurance mandate:

  • individuals who cannot afford coverage,
  • taxpayers with income below the filing threshold,
  • members of American Indian tribes,
  • individuals who suffer hardship,
  • individuals who experience short coverage gaps,
  • members of religious sects or divisions,
  • members of a health care sharing ministry,
  • incarcerated individuals, and
  • individuals who are not lawfully present.