The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on June 4, 1998 · Page 6
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 6

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Thursday, June 4, 1998
Page 6
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AB THURSDAY, UNE4, 1998 HEALTH THE SALINA JOURNAL V HEPATITIS C New hope FDA approves potent drug to fight hepatitis C By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Thousands of patients who relapsed using the only medicine for liver-destroying hepatitis C won hope Wednesday with approval of a therapy that promises to be almost 10 times more effective than standard treatment. Rebetron, a combination treatment that won Food and Drug Administration approval for relapsed hepatitis C patients, is not a cure —and it poses some serious risks, including severe birth defects, anemia and even some suicides. But in studies of patients who relapsed after standard treatment, 45; percent who took Rebetron had undetectable virus levels, com- pared with just 5 percent of patients who merely tried standard therapy again. , "This is an important step forward," said liver specialist Dr. Willis Maddrey of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who advises several hepatitis drug manufacturers. Using a multidrug approach is "attacking the virus on several fronts. ... A large number of people ... should have hope now." But not all relapsed hepatitis patients will be good candidates for Rebetron because it's tough to take and causes numerous side effects, some quite dangerous, stressed the FDA. "This is the sort of therapy best used in the hands of really well- trained specialists," said Dr. Heidi Jolson, FDA's antiviral chief. "There are real risks with this therapy." The majority of patients suffer flulike symptoms for the first few weeks. Schering-Plough said it would begin shipping Rebetron to pharmacies Monday. Cost estimates range from $6,400 to $8,600 for the six months of treatment, depending on the patient's weight. That's in the same range as standard interferon treatment, Schering said. About 4 million Americans have hepatitis C, which kills about 10,000 annually and is the leading reason for liver transplants. T:GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE Health data often not provided HMO group agrees getting information to consumers a challenge By The Associated Press WASHINGTON — Large employers and their health insurance companies offer workers only about half the information that a presidential panel recommends, congressional auditors said Wednesday. And while information has become increasingly available in recent years, it isn't always easy to understand, the General Account- Y HIV INFECTION ing Office said. Virtually all of the consumer protection legislation being considered by Congress would require health plans to make information about their practices more readily available to consumers. The rationale is that consumers will make better decisions when they choose a health plan and when they use its services if they are better informed. Also, the commission reasoned, health care providers will improve quality in order to attract consumers armed with new data. Health maintenance organizations and other managed care plans agree that getting information to consumers is "one of the greatest challenges," said Karen Ignagni, executive director of the American Association of Health Plans, a trade group for HMOs. "If we are to build a consumer- based system, information is going to be fundamental," she said. Forcing health plans to disclose controversial practices may discourage those practices, disclosure proponents' reason. For instance, some companies pay doctors a flat fee for every patient, no matter how much care they provide, giving doctors a financial incentive to give less care. Not all HIV patients get full 'cocktail' By Scripps Howard News Service WASHINGTON — Despite the demonstrated success of using "cocktails" of antiretroviral agents to suppress HIV infection, a survey of physicians shows that up to a quarter .of all infected patients starting therapy are not getting a full measure of the drugs. The research by Louis Harris and Associates was released Wednesday and found that physicians with the most experience in treating HIV more consistently prescribed within guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services and the International AIDS Society. Eighty-eight percent of the physicians with the most experience prescribed at least one pro- tease inhibitor, compared to 60 percent of those doctors with the least HIV-treatment experience. According to the survey, 42 percent of black patients were experiencing symptoms and had high viral load measures and low immune cell counts before they started treatment, as did 43 percent of Hispanics and 36 percent of women. C ompetition. Competition is a word that has been thrown around a lot recently. The law says that we can't offer long-distance service outside our current service area until the local phone service market is open to competition. We took that point to heart and have done everything we can to make that happen. Southwestern Bell has signed interconnection agreements with numerous companies and made Carl Folster a our network facilities available to our competition. Today, nearly 50 companies have been approved by the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) to offer competing local service to customers. Most of these competing companies have decided it is not in their best financial interests to offer basic residential service. On the other hand, they don't have a problem offering service to the more profitable business customers. We don't think that's fair. That's why we have challenged our competitors to "Meet Us in the Marketplace. Now." In February, we filed an application with the KCC to be allowed to offer full long-distance service. In July, the KCC will decide if we've met all the requirements to be allowed entry into the long-distance market. Once our application is approved, we'll file for final approval from the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C. With full telecommunications competition, Kansas customers can expect lower prices and one-stop shopping for local and long-distance service. We look forward to having the opportunity to compete for all your telecommunications needs. Carl Folster Director External Affairs Your friendly neighborhood global communications company.' (2) Southwestern Bell , HEALTH LIFE NEWS "* Salina Journal [FLOWER Dunes Treat Yourself to a delicious Bar-B-Que Pork Sandwich and a Coke for Just $1.OO (Hamburgers also Available) All Proceeds Donated to Hospice of Salina Special Thanks To Hogs And Hamburgers From Smoky River Meats Drinks Furnished By Coca Cola _ _ Buns From Wonder Bread Hospice Volunteers Many Hours oS help •with preparation and serving Ron Goodwin, Good One Smokers Delicious Preparation oS Bar-B-Que Pork Clowns and Balloons Bring the kids to see the Shrine Clowns with ' balloons and magic and our special guest Stitch the Clown (You saw him at the AMBUCS sports show) Live broadcasts on Oldies 98.5 Listen Eor special prizes Cooking demonstrations Ducane gas grills Good-one Smokers Check with our Bar-B-Que specialist You can be a master Bar-B-Que chef with the right grill We've Got the right one lor yon. Above Ground Pools 18' Round Dreamline...Sonoma Pool Solid Blue Overlap Liner Complete equipment package Kool Pool Party Special.... $1,599 Solar Blanket Free Winter Cover Free Aqua Bug Pool Cleaner Free Installation available at additional charge. • Similar package available on other pools. Applies to pools purchased between June 3rd and June 6th, 1998. 24* Round Dreamline...Sonoma Pool Solid Blue Overlap Liner Complete Equipment Package Kool Pool Party Special ....$1,699 Solar Blanket Free Winter Cover Free Aqua Bug Pool Cleaner Free Take XO /O off on all Bioguard and Baquacil pool care products. (Includes Bioguard Soft Swim.) Solar Blankets 1O% OKI Aqua Bug $179 Polaris 380Head and Hose $524 With Booster Pump $749 Save $50 Polans38O Spas and Gaxebos Cat Spas Genesis Kona •Seats 4 To 5 Adults •25 Jets •Light •Full Foam Insulation •Insulating Cover •Starting Chemicals Reg. $4,295 Kool Pool Party Special $3,995 \Sale Ends Saturday, June 6th Ask how you can save an additional $125 with Polaris factory trade in! Relax In Style CalSpas Fiesta Square Sfaand^XL-700 Redwood Gazebo •Seats 4 To 5 People •Lounger •24 Jets •Full Foam Insulation •Cover •Beautiful Redwood Gazebo •Starting Chemicals Reg. $6,190 Kool Pool Party Special just $4,995 y? Patio Furniture Take IO% Off^ Our Already Low Price On All In-Stock Patio Furniture Quality • Comfort • Style • Comfort • Durability • Comfort • Value homecnest Meadowcraft Lifestyles Cast Aluminum Nature's Masterpiece Solid Teakwood Select Group Patio Umbrellas Values To $289 Kool Pool Party Special $99 FLOWER SATURDAY XOMMMKOO Ducane Gas Grills Quality That Lasts A Lifetime Lifetime Warranty No Flare-Ups • Lights Every Time No Messy Grease Pans Stop by on Saturday and see how easy it is to cook on your new Ducane gas grill. The factory reps will be here with their special cooking secrets, Kool Pool Party Special Purchase the Ducane Gas Grill of your choice and we will give you a Ducane grill cover and tank adaptor ($65.00 Value) Free Good-One Smokers For The Serious Barbecue Chef* Heavy Steel Construction Slow Cook For Hours On One Load Of Fuel Precise Temperature Control • Large Grilling Area Cooks Evenly • No Hot Spots Saturday is the day to see how you can be the envy of the neighborhood with your new Good'One Smoker. Save $50.00 on the Good-One of your choice. on major pi Sale end* Saturday, Jane 6,1998. All prices life cash and carry.

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