Not an overview; two days of intensive education.

Pri-Med Washington, DC offers clinicians two full days of practical information and workable insights conceived to hone skills and enhance expertise. All the event’s activities share the same intent—improve patients’ quality of life.*

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Pri-Med educational sessions, led by renown faculty—men and women who are highly credentialed leaders in their fields—will “unpack” the most up-to-date subjects, clinical guidelines, and recommendations. And do so in such a way that these tools can be implemented immediately. (For a list of speakers, visit: https://bit.ly/2UzcgN1)

Topics addressed on April 17th include: Cardiology, Geriatrics, Endocrinology, Psychiatry, Critical Issues of the Day, and Pain Management.
Topics covered on April 18th include: Wellness, Psychiatry, Infectious Disease, Hot Topics, Dermatology, and Cardiology. (See full agenda here: https://bit.ly/2UQLHlO)

Acutis Diagnostics will be in attendance on both April 17th & 18th.  The importance of this event was made clear by a number of our clients in pain management and infectious diseases. On the basis of their recommendations, our representatives, Tiffany DiPietro, Nicole Summers, and Stephanie Moorefield, will be on hand to meet with attendees and introduce them to our company.

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Tiffany DiPietro, Nicole Summers, and Stephanie Moorefield

By attending events such as Pri-Med, Acutis Diagnostics, already recognized as one of New York State’s most respected specialty laboratories, will have the opportunity to share with the industry our growing areas of competence.

* Professional Credits
In addition, you will have the opportunity to earn up to 13 CME/CE Credits
(April 17:  7 Credits and April 18: 6 Credits).

Putting the focus back on treatment.

At some point or another, a scandal touches every industry; medicine is no exception. But seldom has one name scorched so many great cultural institutions as that of the Sackler family. The affected museums, universities, and foundations that were beneficiaries of the Sackler family’s largesse include: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Tate Gallery, The Smithsonian, the Guggenheim, Yale, The New York Academy of Sciences, and other renowned institutions.

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The crisis of conscience experienced by these institutions and also the righteous anger of the attorney generals across the nation who are suing both members of the family, as well as the family-owned company, Purdue Pharma, was caused by the misuse of OxyContin, the company’s best-selling product. The irony is that this medicine, hailed as a wonder drug, offered doctors a way to alleviate severe pain suffered by countless patients including those with cancer and terminal illnesses.

Both Purdue and members of the family have been accused of aggressive, reckless, and even criminal marketing of the drug; including encouraging their sales force to ignore the practice of unethical doctors who ran infamous pill mills. As a result, this former “miracle drug” has become a symbol of the most despicable kind of corporate greed. Although some might argue that Purdue and the Sacklers have become scapegoats for a society that has failed to treat a decades-long catastrophe in a responsible, let alone effective way.

The discussion entered the mainstream with an article in The New Yorker magazine, “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain,” by Patrick Radden Keefe. Since its publication in October 30, 2017, the story of OxyContin and its role in our nation’s very real “opioid crisis” has only grown more intense. 

As a company working at the leading edge of clinical toxicology, Acutis has developed innovative technologies and science and advanced methodologies that enable our medical and drug treatment clients to quickly identify the misuse of OxyContin, as well as other prescription and illicit drugs, including natural and semisynthetic opioids, synthetic opioids, methadone, fentanyl, tramadol, and heroin.

Throughout our collaborations with doctors and our peers in the industry, our conversations have moved outside the lab and into the culture at large. These conversations have made us extremely aware of all that’s at risk by ignoring the real problem.

First, there is the complexity of managing pain, an imperfect art that physicians and others who help suffering people must practice. Second, these professionals do their work fully aware of the frailty of these human beings and their susceptibility to addiction.

The New Yorker’s investigation brought to the surface countless intersecting dynamics that help us understand a cause of crisis—from Purdue’s aggressive marketing practices and the greed of a small number of doctors, to the desperate financial situations of patients who found themselves in possession of a valuable commodity. We also learned a great deal of the role these drugs play in the lives of men and women living in depressed, largely rural and impoverished places.

The story of the Tate Gallery’s and other’s repudiation of new funding by the Sackler trusts, as well as the noisy, even vengeful protests, led by the artist Nan Goldin make for a good story. That said, Acutis has never chased headlines. In fact, we are saddened by the growing number of lawsuits, both those brought by Attorney Generals and also litigators on behalf of their clients. Some settlements have already been made and others will be litigated with the expectation of reclaiming some of the costs related to the 1,000s of deaths attributed to OxyContin.

But we think the emphasis on the Sackler Family and OxyContin, which is still, when used as prescribed, a great help to people suffering from terrible pain, is misguided.

As a company intimately familiar with the workings and expectations of physicians and substance-abuse practitioners and facilities, Acutis refuses to be distracted by sensational news. Nor will we point our finger at a convenient villain.

Few things are as seductive as watching the mighty fall, or the opportunity to turn up our noses at “filthy lucre,” or witness the humbling of the glamorous art world. That said, we will leave the schadenfreude and moralizing to politicians, activists, and cultural critics.

Our task as a clinical toxicology lab is to continually refine our science and technology to provide our clients with the best tools to address the real threats to our individual and collective well-being. We will judge ourselves solely by the following criteria: The precision of our results, delivered in the most timely manner, which together enables our clients in the healthcare community to provide the most appropriate treatment. This is our work and no news, no matter how sensational, will distract us from it

February is, historically, the month with the most reported cases of Influenza.

What are the facts?

  • We are in the midst of 2019 flu season and February is, historically, the month with the highest rate of Influenza.

  • The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.

  • The flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of flu and its potentially serious consequences.

  • Acutis Reveal can determine if you are suffering from the flu or simply a cold.

  • The facts are not in dispute: Get vaccinated today.

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As we wrote elsewhere, flu is not easy. One reason, as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reminds us, is that each season introduces different viruses. To provide optimum protection, the makeup of U.S. flu vaccines is updated to match the current circulating flu viruses.

Once you’ve received your shot, it takes about two weeks for the antibodies to develop in the body. So, even if you haven’t had the shot yet, this is a case where later is better than never. As the season could last well into May, even a late vaccination can prove beneficial. This is especially true for high-risk individuals. These include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions, and the elderly.

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The words “Flu Season” are meant to be taken literally. They are not used metaphorically. It is not medicine taking poetic license. Flu can be active from October until May.

As the flu spreads—from the most intimate settings, to the most public spaces—the Centers for Disease Control suggests we take these precautions to stop the spread of the viruses:

· As much as possible, try to avoid close contact with people suffering from the flu or who show signs of the flu.

· If you’re ill, limit contact with others to avoid infecting them.

· If you have flu-like symptoms, the CDC recommends you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Leave your home only to seek medical care or for other necessities.

· Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and then wash your hands.

· Wash your hands frequently using soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.

· Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with flu germs.

Flu vs Cold

One of the most confusing aspects of the flu is that its signs and symptoms resemble the common cold and other less dangerous illnesses. See the list below to better determine the nature of your illness, or those of the people around you.

 
 


Flu complications can be more than a little complicated

Most people who get the flu will recover in anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. But for those who develop complications such as pneumonia, complications can lead to serious illness, even death.

Sinus and ear infections are examples of moderate complications from the flu, while pneumonia is a serious flu complication that can result from either influenza virus infection or from co-infection of flu virus and bacteria. Other possible serious complications triggered by the flu can include inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis), or muscle (myositis, rhabdomyolysis) tissues, and multi-organ failure (for example, respiratory and kidney failure). Flu virus infection of the respiratory tract can trigger an extreme inflammatory response in the body and can lead to sepsis, the body’s life-threatening response to infection.

The flu also can make chronic medical problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience more violent asthma attacks when suffering from the flu, and people with chronic heart disease may experience a worsening of their condition.


What are the emergency warning signs of influenza in infants,
children and adults?

Infants. Pay close attention to these signs:

· No appetite or unable to eat
· Difficulty breathing
· No tears when crying
· Fewer wet diapers than normal

Children. Watch for these symptoms:

·
 Fast breathing or trouble breathing
· Bluish skin color
· Refusing fluids
· Difficulty waking or interacting
· Irritability and refusing to be held
· “False recovery”— a fever returns along with painful cough
· Fever with a rash

Adult. Look for these indications:

·
 Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
· Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
· Sudden dizziness
· Confusion
· Severe or persistent vomiting
· Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Acutis Diagnostics recognized by Newsday as a New York success story.

In early December, Acutis was the subject of a feature article by James T, Madore, who writes about Long Island business for NewsdayThe piece describes our work, our rapid growth, and also our plans to expand our current competencies. In the piece, Acutis is described as a “great success story.” As a company in motion and as one committed to the medical community and the public its serves, everyone at Acutis is happy to share this story with you,

A clinical laboratory involved in the fight against opioid addiction and misuse of antibiotics wants to quadruple its space by moving west, from Suffolk County to Nassau, executives said.Acutis Diagnostics Inc., begun three years ago, has grown from two employees working in 1,000 square feet of space in Farmingdale to more than 100 in 10,000 square feet in East Northport. And the company now is looking to buy a 40,000-square-foot building in Hicksville to meet increased demand for its lab tests. CEO Jibreel Sarij said recently that the opioid crisis has fueled sales of Acutis’ medication monitoring systems by physicians, drug treatment centers and others.

Read more

Aetna selects Acutis as an in-network provider

We are pleased to announce that as of October 1, 2018, Aetna — a Fortune 500 Company that has been described by the New York Times as “one of the most progressive actors
in corporate America” — has accepted Acutis as a national, in-network provider.  

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Acutis maintains its commitment to its clients and the industry with:

  1. A no-compromise work ethic that adheres to protocols that have no tolerance for error. 

  2. Our proprietary 728 Patient Report™ that enables clinical decisions by pointing out abuse of prescription/illicit drugs that are too often missed by providers.

  3. A sense of urgency — 97% of our reports are delivered by the next business day.

  4. A payor-centric approach that believes good healthcare delivered at the lowest cost is a business imperative. 

  5. An adherence to “medical necessity” as the only basis for testing, which leads to better patient outcomes with minimal testing.

Only a few, select clinical toxicology laboratories have been accepted as Aetna in-network providers. We see our acceptance as an affirmation, not only for Acutis as a whole, but of every single member of our company, from our PhDs to our support staff. We are honored to have earned Aetna’s trust and will work hard and smart to keep it.

“We will continue to refine our science and technology to ensure greater accuracy and consistency, as well as regular cost savings and rapid turn-around time.
What’s more, our ongoing investment in research and development will lead to greater advancements in clinical toxicology, as well as state-of-the-art diagnostic tests in infectious disease and molecular diagnostics.”
— Jibreel Sarij, Acutis’ CEO

Acutis is on it. Our Sales Specialists Stephen Dybalski and Kseniya Shyrokava were on hand at the 2018 New York & New Jersey Societies of Interventional Pain Physicians’ Pain Medicine Symposium

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The theme of this year’s show “Evolving Advanced Pain Therapies” could not be more relevant in light of the current opioid and pain-management crises. Nor could it be a more appropriate venue for Acutis to share with this community our new definition of care: A company at the leading edge of medical diagnostics. A company committed to ensure professionals in this specialty have one less thing to worry about.

Led by Chairman, Sudhir Diwan, MD, and Course Directors, Scott Woska, MD and Christopher Gharibo, MD. The show provided the most up-to-date information on advanced pain management techniques, pharmacology, neurostimulation, vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty, discography as well as other treatments and procedures.

Both Stephen and Kseniya made a special point to visit with our current pain-management clients who were in attendance, as well as introduce potential clients to Acutis’ expanding capabilities. New contacts were cultivated and, as important, new lessons were learned that will be shared throughout the entire Acutis network.

During the show Stephen and Kseniya became acquainted with those new products and procedures that were most exciting to members of the medical community. Of particular interest were training geared for primary caregivers, as well as medical-management physicians who require specific training in the prescribing and utilization of opioids and controlled substances.

500 specialists in pain and interventional pain management, as well as neurosurgery were in attendance. Acutis is proud to have been among this esteemed company.

Acutis Steps Up at the 19th Annual ASAP Conference

From September 23rd through the 27th 2018,  CEO Jibreel Sarij and Sales Specialists Jared Blais and Emily Talarico attended the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers of New York State (ASAP) Annual Conference in Syracuse, New York. 

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That we’re in the midst of a crisis is not news. All attendees at the ASAP Conference are acutely aware of the enormity of the problem. Ben Walsh, the Mayor of Syracuse, mentioned in his remarks that a death by an overdose occurred only a few days earlier, a block from the conference center. Everyone, from caseworkers and administrators, to medical practitioners and specialists, had their war stories. There was no shortage of tactics and strategies discussed, all focused on ASAP’s guiding principle that addiction is a treatable and preventable disease.

A highlight of the conference was a talk by the journalist Sam Quinones, author of the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning book, Dreamland: The True Take of America’s Opiate Epidemic. Quinones took on one of the most controversial issues of the day: how heroin moved from the urban centers into our nation’s heartland.

During the event, Jibreel Sarij spoke at length with ASAP’s Executive Director John Coppola, The two discussed how the ASAP might tap into Acutis’ expertise in drug testing and also how the ASAP might benefit from access to vast amounts of data Acutis has compiled. Coppola accepted an invitation to visit our facility.

We look forward to new friends and a dynamic collaboration.

Visit the 19th Annual ASAP Conference website.

Just don’t call it weed

In early July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex® (cannabidiol or CBD), an oral solution derived from marijuana, for the treatment of two severe pediatric seizure disorders. Epidiolex® is the first, yes, the first, FDA-approved medicine made from a purified extract of the marijuana plant—all natural and nothing synthetic.

Studies have confirmed what has been reported anecdotally about CBD oils—that they are helpful in treating seizures. But stories that circulate like rumors have always been incomplete if not disappointing. That said, starting this autumn, parents whose children suffer from Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes will have a safer and more reliable treatment than CBD products currently hawked on the Internet or sold in marijuana dispensaries.

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FDA approves first drug derived from marijuana.
July 2, 2018

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) approved Epidiolex® (cannabidiol, or CBD), a medication extracted from marijuana, for the treatment of two severe pediatric seizure disorders, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. CBD is a compound typically found in very small quantities in the marijuana plant, and it has been of interest to scientists and the public for several years due to its anti-seizure properties and other possible therapeutic benefits. The approval comes at the end of a four-year series of trials showing the benefits of CBD in relieving the symptoms of these seizure disorders, which are highly resistant to existing treatments.

Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes are extremely debilitating. Children often suffer multiple seizures per day, they are likely to have developmental problems and are at high risk for early mortality. For several years, desperate parents with children suffering from these disorders sometimes relocated to states where marijuana had been legalized to obtain CBD oils, since this compound had been reported anecdotally to be helpful.

Read the full article online on the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) website.

Surprising and disturbing

Best business practices require a familiarity with current news. Toward that end, we read industry white papers and university studies, as well as national and local news stories. But familiarity is our point of departure.

News that finds its way into our laboratory will often find its way into our strategies and eventually into new services. Where this particular story leads we can’t say, but as we found it as surprising as it is disturbing, we believe it is worth publishing here.

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Mussels in Washington's Puget Sound test positive for opioids, other drugs

“Shellfish in the Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean along the northwest coast of Washington, tested positive for the prescription opioid oxycodone... The mussels also contained four kinds of synthetic surfactants -- the chemicals found in detergents and cleaning products -- seven kinds of antibiotics, five types of antidepressants, more than one anti-diabetic drug and one chemotherapy agent.”

“Scientists have not studied whether mussels are harmed by oxycodone. However, the presence of this drug in the mollusk speaks to the high number of people in the urban areas surrounding the Puget Sound who take this medication, said Lanksbury.”

"We decided it was important for us to start looking for 'contaminants of emerging concern,' " she said. This term refers to pharmaceuticals and personal care products -- including prescription drugs, detergents, shampoos and micro-plastic beads -- that are increasingly being detected in waterways, such as the Puget Sound.

A study conducted by the US Geological Survey found measurable amounts of one or more medications in 80% of the water samples drawn from 139 streams in 30 states.”

Follow this and related stories:

Expectations met at ICCO 2018

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Acutis Diagnostics’ Charlie Clark and Chuck Orefice attended the International Conference on Opioids, at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, held from June 10th - 12th, 2018.

We came with high expectations for this meeting, especially in light of the current crisis. We were not disappointed. Thought leaders and practitioners from the U.S. and abroad addressed topics of increasing urgency, from the best emerging medical practices using opioid to treat pain, to the rapidly evolving ethical and legal aspects of opioid management.

Acutis Diagnostics is intimately familiar with the challenges faced by physicians who seek greater clarity and new competences. Toward that end, we were excited to learn new concepts and applications in medication monitoring and illicit drug testing. We will continue to hone our science and services with a single goal in mind: reduce risk to both practitioners and patients, while improving clinical outcomes.