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Monday, December 7, 2009

Walgreens To Help Promote Hep B Awareness in Stores Citywide

-100,000 informational fliers to be distributed in pharmacies-

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Contact: Christine Hsu, media@sfhepbfree.org or
Angela Pang, apang@asianweek.com, (415) 321-5894

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, December 7, 2009 – San Francisco Hep B Free is partnering with Walgreens to encourage all clinicians citywide to routinely screen their patients for hepatitis B. Beginning Dec. 7, Walgreens will distribute 100,000 informational hepatitis B fliers at more than 60 pharmacy locations throughout the city.

When patients pick up their orders, pharmacists will include the two-sided flyer with their prescription. One side of the flyer contains facts about the disease, while the other side lists several public testing sites and Walgreens locations that provide vaccinations. Those Walgreens locations include 745 Clement St., 1580 Valencia St., Suite 101, 2690 Mission St., and 5260 Diamond Heights.

"As we enter the next phase of the San Francisco Hep B Free Campaign - to influence clinician behavior to screen and test all Asian and Pacific Islanders for hepatitis B - we want to encourage the public to be involved by asking their clinicians about this disease. Having informational flyers about Hep B in Walgreens pharmacy bags will help do so," said Mitch Katz, MD, Director of the SF Department of Public Health. "We applaud Walgreens for their support of the campaign and hope that we can one day eradicate this disease."

"Hepatitis is a very serious disease that many people aren't even aware of," said Jeff Wong, Walgreens Pharmacy Manager. "In a city where more than one third of its residents are Asian, Walgreens is proud to be supporting a campaign that aims to raise awareness about this vaccine preventable disease."

Hepatitis B causes up to 80 percent of all liver cancers and disproportionately affects 1 in 10 Asian and Pacific Islanders. A safe and effective vaccine prevents infection and liver cancer caused by hepatitis B.

"With the cold and flu season underway, more patients will head to the pharmacy and will receive the hepatitis B flyers in their bags," said Dr. Lisa Tang of Kaiser Permanente who chairs the SF Hep B Free Clinicians Outreach Committee. "Our hope is that people will read the flyer - 'Be a hero. See a doctor who tests for hepatitis B' and ask their clinician for more information. As more and more patients discuss this with their clinicians, they will hopefully be motivated to learn more about the disease."


ABOUT Hepatitis B
Asian and Pacific Islanders (APIs) are disproportionately impacted by Hepatitis B. It is a disease of the liver caused by HBV, a virus often called a "silent killer" because it can cause liver cancer, cirrhosis or liver failure without producing symptoms. San Francisco has the highest liver cancer rate in the nation, and 80% of liver cancer in APIs is caused by HBV. But it's preventable with a simple vaccine.

ABOUT San Francisco Hep B Free

San Francisco Hep B Free is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between city government, private healthcare and community organizations. The program's goal is to make San Francisco a hepatitis B-free city by (1) creating public and healthcare provider awareness about the importance of testing & vaccinating APIs for hepatitis B; (2) promoting routine HBV screenings and vaccinations within the primary care medical community; and (3) facilitating access to treatment for chronically infected individuals. The campaign's theme is "B a Hero. See a doctor who tests for Hepatitis B."

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