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Medco Health and the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging Launch 'Ask the Pharmacist'.

Business Editors

COLUMBUS, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 10, 2003

A Public Service Program for Senior and Community Groups; Program

Offers Tips on Safe Use of Medications

Medco Health Solutions, Inc., the nation's leading provider of prescription health care services, today launched a new community service program--"Ask the Pharmacist"--to guide senior and community organizations on the safe use of their medications.

The program is being offered here in partnership with the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging (COAAA).

Medco Health's licensed pharmacists will host open forums for community groups and answer questions individuals may have about their prescription medications and safe prescribing practices. The program is being offered without cost to senior, civic, church and other community groups in the Central Ohio area. During the year, COAAA and Medco Health expect to conduct nine sessions at senior housing facilities and with local community organizations.

The first forum will be held for the residents of the JC Village in their Community Center at 5905 Beechcroft Road, in Columbus on Tuesday, March 11 at 11 a.m.

"This program addresses an essential need in our community to help people become better informed about the medications they are taking and how to become more active participants in addressing their health care needs," said Marilyn Wollett, Medco Health's director of Pharmacy Practice. "Through better health care education, people can learn how to live longer and healthier lives."

The informational sessions will address the following topics:
-- Why it is important to track all prescribed medications, over the counter and herbal medicines being taken

-- How to become more informed about medications

-- The importance of following dosage instructions

-- What to do about side effects from medications

-- How to watch for drug to drug interactions

-- How to store medicines properly


In addition, people can bring in the medications, vitamins and supplements they take to have a Medco Health pharmacist review them for possible interaction or drug duplication issues.

"This program with Medco Health provides a valuable service to seniors in our community and helps us meet our mandate to educate seniors on the appropriate use of medications," said Lisa Durham, the COAAA's director of Community Education and Outreach.

After each "Ask the Pharmacist" program, Medco Health will donate a copy of its Medication Guidebook for Healthy Aging(TM) to the senior citizens or community center. This comprehensive large-print reference guide is designed to educate older adults, and those who care for them, about various aspects of prevalent health conditions and treatments they may face as they age. The Guidebook offers a revealing look at more than 20 of the most common medical conditions facing older adults, the myriad prescription and over-the-counter medications most often used to treat those conditions, and detailed information on how these medications may act differently in older adults as a result of changes in the aging body, such as changes in metabolism.

The COAAA, operated by the City of Columbus Recreation & Parks Department, provides a range of services to seniors in an eight-county area. Medco Health is one of the largest employers in the Columbus area, with more than 3,000 health care providers at its Columbus and Dublin pharmacy centers.

Organizations interested in learning more about the program can contact Jane Acri of the COAAA at 614-645-7250 or Marilyn Wollett of Medco Health at 614-822-2202.

About Medco Health

Medco Health Solutions, Inc., is the nation's leading provider of prescription healthcare services, based on the $33 billion in drug spend the company managed for its clients in 2002. Formerly known as Merck-Medco, Medco Health is a wholly owned and independently managed subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK), and assists its clients to moderate the cost and enhance the quality of prescription drug benefits provided to about 64 million Americans nationwide.

About COAAA

The Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging (http://coaaa.org) is one of 12 designated Area Agencies on Aging in Ohio. Serving older Central Ohioans for over 25 years, the COAAA is part of a national aging network developed under the Older Americans Act. The COAAA provides a wide variety of services including assessments, home and community based services, information, education and caregiver support. Services are supported by federal, state and local funds. The COAAA is operated by the City of Columbus, Recreation and Parks Department.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Mar 10, 2003
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