Michael F. Easley
Governor

The Great Seal of the State of North Carolina Carmen Hooker Odom
Secretary

North Carolina
Department of Health and Human Services

For Release: IMMEDIATE
Date: January 26, 2007

  Contact: Debbie Crane

Community Care/GSK Enter into Flu Vaccine Contract

Agreement will ensure that NC doctors and local health departments receive vaccine early

RALEIGH – North Carolina physicians will receive flu vaccine early next season, thanks to a groundbreaking agreement announced today. The contract, between the North Carolina Community Care Networks, Inc (NCCCN) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is designed to address the problem of delays that the state’s doctors and local health departments have experienced during past flu seasons.

Under this first of its kind agreement, GSK agrees to ship up to two million doses of flu vaccine to North Carolina doctors and local health departments. Doctors and local health departments will have the opportunity to order vaccine through the contract for the 2007/2008 flu season.

“As a physician, I’ve been troubled by the delays in private providers and local health departments receiving flu vaccine,” said Dr. Allen Dobson, DHHS Assistant Secretary for Health Policy and Medical Assistance. “After last fall’s delay, North Carolina medical community leaders got together to figure out how we could address what seemed to be a recurring problem. GlaxoSmithKline has risen to this occasion – ensuring that our doctors will receive vaccine early in the season when it will make the most difference.”

”We’re delighted to work with North Carolina Community Care Networks on this innovative program,” said Chris Viehbacher, President, US Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline. “Each year, the flu causes some 36,000 deaths in the US, so it’s critical that anyone who wants a flu shot should be able should be able to get one easily.”

“Since our member practices will receive priority distribution of vaccines at the same time as commercial entities, patients can be vaccinated in their medical home as part of a physician’s coordinated care plan,” said Dr. Steven E. Wegner, President of North Carolina Community Care Networks Inc. “The agreement also improves the vaccine distribution system by allowing direct communication with the manufacturer about supply, ensuring that physicians can provide vaccines for all of their patients.”

State Health Director Dr. Leah Devlin applauded the development. “Right now, we know that there are health departments with unused vaccine for the current flu season because it arrived too late,” she said. “If local health departments choose to participate in this contract, then they should be able to begin vaccination clinics early in next year’s season.”

The North Carolina Medical Society agreed. "The North Carolina Medical Society is pleased that Glaxo has partnered with North Carolina Community Care Networks to provide flu vaccine in a timely manner to physicians in their offices and to the local health departments, “ said Dr. Darlyne Menscer, who is president of the Medical Society. “Physicians can be trusted to immunize our
most vulnerable patients – those with asthma, diabetes, heart disease,
the elderly, pregnant women and children."

NCCCN is the administrative organization coordinating the development of a demonstration project to improve care for the North Carolina Medicare population. It builds on the success of the 14 Community Care of North Carolina networks that manage quality and cost-effective care for Medicaid enrollees through evidence-based practice guidelines, and targeted care and disease management programs. NCCCN has approximately 5,000 participating physicians in 1,250 practices across the state.

Physicians interested in participating in the program may contact NCCCN at www.ncccninc.org, 1-800-757-6587, or 3500 Gateway Boulevard, Suite 110, Morrisville, NC 27560.


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Public Affairs Office
101 Blair Drive, Raleigh, NC 27603
(919)733-9190
FAX (919)733-7447

Debbie Crane
Director