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Advocates want NY to limit prescription drug switching 6/19/2018 5:05:01 PM Advocates want NY to limit prescription drug switching Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:05 Medical professionals, chronic disease patients, and many others are urging New York to outlaw so-called "non-medical switching" of prescription drugs—a practice in which insurers and PBMs stop covering some drugs mid-year and start covering others as a way to control costs. "A patient and their medical team should be making decisions about what treatment works best for a medical condition, not an insurance company," said Gerryann Currier, an advocate for the end of mid-year drug switching. However, insurers say retaining the ability to switch out expensive drugs for cheaper alternatives as soon as they become available keeps costs down. "Big Pharma is allowed to raise its prices on a whim and there is really nothing any of us can do about it," noted Ali Skinner, a spokeswoman for the Albany-based health plan CDPHP, which has lobbied against legislation that would prohibit the practice. Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D-Buffalo) and State Sen. Sue Serino (R) introduced the bill, which passed the Assembly in April for a fourth year in a row. With the current legislative session coming to a close, advocates are hoping the bill makes it out of the Senate insurance committee and to the floor for a vote. (Click for more...) State appeals court reinstates California's right-to-die law 6/19/2018 5:05:01 PM State appeals court reinstates California's right-to-die law Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:05 On June 15, the Fourth District Court of Appeals in Riverside, CA, temporarily restored California's right-to-die law. The End of Life Option law allows adults in California to obtain a prescription for life-ending drugs if a physician deems they have 6 months or less to live. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia ruled in May that the law is unconstitutional because it was adopted illegally, as lawmakers passed it during a special legislative session. The state appeals court on June 15 issued an immediate stay that puts the End of Life Option back in effect. Opponents have until July 2 to file objections. "This stay is a huge win for many terminally ill Californians with 6 months or less to live because it could take years for the courts to resolve this case," says Kevin Díaz, national director of legal advocacy for Compassion & Choices. A number of physicians, the Life Legal Defense Foundation, and the American Academy of Medical Ethics were among those who sued to have the law overturned in the case Ahn vs. Hestrin. Health officials in California say 111 terminally ill people used drugs to end their lives in the first 6 months after the law took effect in 2016. (Click for more...) Florida law change on July 1 may save you big money on prescription medicine 6/19/2018 5:05:01 PM Florida law change on July 1 may save you big money on prescription medicine Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:05 A change to Florida law that takes effect July 1 may help reduce the cost of prescription medicine. That change will enable pharmacists to tell patients if it is cheaper to pay cash than through their health insurance policy. Pharmacists say it is wait and see in terms of specific drug prices. "There are certain medications where it will not be better to use cash option, especially if it's the newer drugs that don’t have generics," notes pharmacist Misti Curcio at Center City Pharmacy in downtown West Palm Beach. More patients will likely be able to pick up medication that had been on pharmacy shelves for months because they were previously unable to pay. "In this area, we have a lot of families in the lower income budget ... It does make me feel better as a pharmacist knowing that they can walk away, they can get their medication, and if they are really sick they can be treated and be able to afford it," Curcio says. (Click for more...) Bipartisan group of senators asks FDA to examine drug shortages 6/19/2018 5:05:01 PM Bipartisan group of senators asks FDA to examine drug shortages Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:05 FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, is being urged to give Congress recommendations on how deal with drug shortages across the United States. A bipartisan group of senators, led by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), has called on FDA to have a task force investigate the cause of the shortages and develop policy recommendations on how to resolve the issues before year-end 2019. A letter sent to Gottlieb by Murphy, Cassidy, and 29 of their colleagues noted in particular shortages of some routinely used medicines, including local anesthetics and sterile I.V. fluids. "These are essential products used every day, and for many of them there are no suitable alternatives that are readily available," the senators said. "This can result in suboptimal pain control or sedation for patients, and ultimately limit patient access to the most appropriate care." (Click for more...) Puerto Rico faces a spike in asthma cases following Hurricane Maria 6/19/2018 5:05:01 PM Puerto Rico faces a spike in asthma cases following Hurricane Maria Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:05 In the wake of Hurricane Maria, physicians in Puerto Rico report they are seeing a sharp increase in the number and severity of asthma cases. The island had high asthma rates even before the Category 4 storm hit last September, with about 435,000 cases in a population of 3.3 million (13%), according to the Puerto Rico health department. By contrast, the number of people with asthma on the U.S. mainland in 2016 was 8.3%. While there are not yet official asthma figures for the island in the months following Maria's devastation, airborne mold and pollen have risen following the hurricane. In addition, diesel- and gas-powered generators—many of which do not meet current pollution standards—are being used daily at schools, hospitals, and water treatment facilities. According to Ivette Bonet, MD, who helps low-income patients at a clinic in the Santurce neighborhood, asthma "has increased so, so, so much after the hurricane." She also notes she has seen many new patients who never had asthma before Maria hit. (Click for more...) A third of children use alternative medicines 6/19/2018 5:05:01 PM A third of children use alternative medicines Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:05 New https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2685282 target="_blank">research in JAMA Pediatrics indicates that about 33% of children younger than age 19 years use dietary supplements or alternative medicines regularly. Multivitamins were the most common supplements used, followed by vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and melatonin. However, lead author Dima M. Qato—an assistant professor and pharmacist at the University of Illinois at Chicago—noted that for healthy kids, there is no evidence regarding the benefits of supplements and some indication of serious risks. According to the study, 3% of male teenagers and 1.3% of female teens took bodybuilding supplements; 2.3% of children younger than age 19 years took omega-3 fatty acids; and 1.6% of adolescents and 1.2% of children younger than age 5 years used melatonin and other sleep aids. The study, based on data from a large national health survey, also found that about 30% of children younger than age 5 years take multivitamins but the percentage decreases with age. (Click for more...) Effect of tamsulosin on passage of symptomatic ureteral stones 6/19/2018 5:05:01 PM Effect of tamsulosin on passage of symptomatic ureteral stones Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:05 A randomized clinical trial involving more than 500 adults sought to determine whether there is a health benefit of tamsulosin to promote the passage of ureteral stones within 4 weeks among patients presenting to the emergency department (ED). The prevalence of urinary stone disease has increased significantly in the past 15 years, and the rate of ED visits for the condition has increased as well, from 178 visits per 100,000 persons in 1992 to 340 in 2009. The study, conducted from 2008–09 and then from 2012–16, included adults with a symptomatic urinary stone in the ureter less than 9 mm in diameter. The first phase included a single ED in the United States, while the second phase involved six EDs. Participants were randomly assigned to daily treatment with tamsulosin 0.4 mg or a matching placebo for 28 days, and they were followed for 90 days. According to the data, stone passage rates were 50% in the tamsulosin group compared with 47% in the placebo group, a difference that is considered nonsignificant. The researchers concluded that, "compared with placebo, 28-day treatment with tamsulosin did not increase the overall stone passage rate or improve a wide range of secondary outcomes in patients who presented to the emergency department with symptomatic ureteral stones less than 9 mm in diameter." (Click for more...) Higher vitamin D levels tied to lower colorectal cancer risk 6/19/2018 5:05:01 PM Higher vitamin D levels tied to lower colorectal cancer risk Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:05 Researchers investigated a suspected correlation between high levels of vitamin D in the blood and lower risk for colorectal cancer (CRC). The work focused on data from 17 study cohorts involving more than 5,700 CRC patients and more than 7,100 controls. Results from the international collaborative meta-analysis suggest that higher circulating levels of vitamin D significantly curtail the relative CRC risk in women and lower the relative risk by an insignificant amount in men. Compared with patients having the lowest levels of circulating vitamin D considered inadequate for bone health (50–62.5 nmol/L), the relative risk fell by 19% for those with vitamin D in the range of 75–87.5 nmol/L and by 22% for levels in the range of 75–100 nmol/L. No further benefit was documented beyond a level of 100 nmol/L, however. At the same time, circulating vitamin D levels below 30 nmol/L were associated with a 31% higher risk of CRC. The researchers estimate that each 25 nmol/L gain in circulating vitamin D produces a meaningfully lower risk of CRC in males and females combined; however, the relative risk reduction was a significant 19% for women vs. just 7% for men. "Our study suggests that optimal circulating [vitamin D] concentrations for colorectal cancer risk reduction are 75-100 nmol/L, higher than current IOM recommendations for bone health," conclude the investigators, who report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. They generally do not recommend supplements, as most people have adequate circulating levels already and could reach toxic levels by adding more vitamin D to their system. (Click for more...) WHO releases new International Classification of Diseases, ICD-11 6/19/2018 5:05:01 PM WHO releases new International Classification of Diseases, ICD-11 Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:05 The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued its newest International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), which contains thousands of codes for diseases, injuries, and causes of death. ICD-11, which has been in development for more than a decade, is now completely digital and has a more user-friendly interface. Set to take effect on January 1, 2022, ICD-11 will be presented to the World Health Assembly next year for adoption by member states. The new ICD-11 features new chapters, including one on traditional medicine, and adds gaming disorder to the addictive disorders section. Lubna Alansari, MD, WHO's Assistant Director-General for Health Metrics and Measurement, said: "ICD is a cornerstone of health information, and ICD-11 will deliver an up-to-date view of the patterns of disease." (Click for more...) Donations of $4,500 overdose antidote were PR gold for drug maker--but some kits were close to expiring 6/19/2018 5:05:01 PM Donations of $4,500 overdose antidote were PR gold for drug maker--but some kits were close to expiring Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:05 Kaleo's initiative to provide its opioid overdose reversal agent to law enforcement agencies at no cost has been a public relations dream for the Virginia-based company, but the charitable move could turn into a publicity nightmare. A STAT investigation reveals that the naloxone autoinjectors, sold under the brand name Evzio, are often approaching the end of their estimated 2-year shelf life when police departments receive the donations. "Is the practice of giving out soon-to-be expired drugs ethical? The answer is clearly no," declares Leo Beletsky, an associate professor of law and health sciences at Northeastern University in Boston. "People who receive medication [from a charity program] deserve the same quality as anybody else. There should be the same standards for products sold and products donated." There is no clear and consistent guidance at the federal and state levels, however, for how near-expiration drugs should be handled. Kaleo says that naloxone with longer shelf life typically goes to prescription patients and their families and that it donates the autoinjectors with shorter shelf life with the expectation that they will be used quickly and not stockpiled. "Kaleo would much rather help save a life than throw an effective product away," says spokesman Brian Ellis. However, the product often still ends up being tossed—just by the recipients of the donations rather than by the manufacturer. Even so, Kaleo reports that its Evzio donations to police, health workers, and nonprofits have, in fact, saved some 5,000 lives since 2014. Geoffrey Joyce, chair of the University of Southern California's department of pharmaceutical and health economics, may sum the situation up best. He draws a parallel to restaurants that donate wilting fruit and vegetables to food banks. "Sending medications with only 4 months of shelf life may be a wise business strategy to move out excess inventory, even if it's dubious on ethical grounds," Joyce speculates. "It's a combination of altruism and economics, with the weight tilting towards economics over altruism." (Click for more...) College of Pharmacy save lives with hotline 6/19/2018 5:05:01 PM College of Pharmacy save lives with hotline Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:05 Around the clock, operators at the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center (NMPDIC) receive calls from across the state and provide treatment advice regarding poisonings and drug inquiries. Susan Smolinske is the director for NMPDIC, which has operated for 40 years out of the University of New Mexico's (UNM) College of Pharmacy. She says pharmacists are the ones who answer the phones, with the majority of the calls made by the public. In cases of medication poisonings, "depending on the substance, we'll either closely follow up or have (the caller) call us back if there are any problems, but we want to make sure that everything is going okay," Smolinske says. She adds, "If we talk to the triage person at the hospital ... we can give some treatment advice as to what they need to do when that person hits the door and that can save some time." Data released from the 2017 NMPDIC annual report shows that since 2013, the NMPDIC has seen a decline in calls but an increase in treatment. Smolinske says student pharmacists work at the NMPDIC during their time at UNM alongside students from the College of Medicine, physician assistants, and emergency medical technicians. (Click for more...) Ohio workers' comp expects to save money with new pharmacy contract 6/19/2018 5:05:01 PM Ohio workers' comp expects to save money with new pharmacy contract Mon, 06/18/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/19/2018 - 17:05 The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation is hiring Nashville-based Change Healthcare to manage its pharmaceutical program for injured workers starting November 1. The bureau is replacing its PBM of more than a decade, Optum RX, after a recent audit by Healthplan Data Solutions discovered it overcharged the bureau $5.6 million in 2017. "We wanted a PBM who was more of a partner to manage claims," said Nick Trego, the bureau's pharmacy program director. Trego said the bureau will be able to better manage costs under its new contract, which includes several new provisions to keep it from being overbilled. For example, the bureau will choose which drugs are covered and pay Change Healthcare a set monthly fee for each injured worker's case it handles. The state agency spent $86 million on pharmacy claims for approximately 41,000 injured employees in 2017. Optum RX was paid per prescription filled and was billing the bureau more for medications than the price negotiated in its contract with the bureau, according to Trego. (Click for more...) To address poor blood glucose control, look for clinical inertia 6/19/2018 11:28:36 AM To address poor blood glucose control, look for clinical inertia Tue, 06/19/2018 - 11:31 caldridgeyoung… Tue, 06/19/2018 - 11:28 Many patients with diabetes don’t meet the recommended glycemic goals. (Click for more...) Watch out for inappropriate use of loop diuretics with dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers 6/18/2018 1:03:40 PM Watch out for inappropriate use of loop diuretics with dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers Mon, 06/18/2018 - 13:07 ehaberkorn@aph… Mon, 06/18/2018 - 13:03 Pharmacists should be on the lookout for prescribing cascades involving loop diuretics to counteract lower extremity edema in patients who take dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers, say researchers in a study published online in the Journal (Click for more...) How e-prescribing technology solutions can cut paper prescriptions, boost provider and patient satisfaction 6/16/2018 1:05:01 AM How e-prescribing technology solutions can cut paper prescriptions, boost provider and patient satisfaction Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Sat, 06/16/2018 - 01:05 Gundersen Health System, a 325-bed hospital based in Wisconsin, partnered with health IT security company Imprivata to roll out a solution for electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS). The system enabled the hospital to reduce paper prescriptions and improve workflow efficiency while meeting regulatory requirements. "One of the reasons we moved forward with this project was to address the burden of patients having to travel to pick up paper prescriptions," said Amy Loos, RN, clinical informaticist at Gundersen Health System, in a recent webinar. In addition, inefficient workflows between paper prescribing and e-prescribing frustrated both providers and patients. To reduce this burden, Gundersen implemented fingerprint biometrics in its EPCS system, allowing providers to quickly access their e-prescribing application. "The results of our recent go-live at one of our clinics showed a significant reduction in paper," Loos said. Gundersen's providers also showed greater interest in transitioning to e-prescribing, she said, noting there was a "seven-fold increase in EPCS in 4 months." Loos' tips for launching an EPCS solution include regular communication with staff, placing fingerprint devices in consistent locations, and conducting pharmacy outreach prior to go-live to make sure local pharmacists are aware of the new process. (Click for more...) Kentucky sues Walgreens for 'dual role' in the state's opioid crisis 6/16/2018 1:05:01 AM Kentucky sues Walgreens for 'dual role' in the state's opioid crisis Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Sat, 06/16/2018 - 01:05 Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear on Thursday reported that the state is suing Walgreens for allegedly exacerbating the "man-made" opioid crisis, by playing a dual role in in the supply chain as both the distributor and dispenser. The lawsuit also claims the company willfully ignored its own safeguard systems that are designed to protect consumers and monitor their drug consumption. Parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance fulfilled orders "for such large quantities of prescription narcotic pain medication that there could be no associated legitimate medical purpose for their use," according to the lawsuit. Officials with Walgreens declined to comment, citing pending litigation. Pharmacies licensed in Kentucky are equipped to monitor real-time data regarding exact amounts of medications, dosages and types, and customer orders, and they are required to report suspicious orders of Schedule II drugs, including opioids, to DEA. They also are obligated to flag unusual orders, including those in which customers travel long distances to fill a prescription, or "doctors prescribing outside the scope of their usual practice." The lawsuit alleges that Walgreens has failed to adequately take these actions. The state says it is trying to stop Walgreens from overprescribing opioids or filling suspect orders placed by its pharmacies. (Click for more...) Medical societies go to court to protect key ACA provisions 6/16/2018 1:05:01 AM Medical societies go to court to protect key ACA provisions Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Sat, 06/16/2018 - 01:05 Major medical groups on Thursday filed a brief in a federal court to maintain key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including protections for people with preexisting conditions. The American Medical Association (AMA) led an amicus brief from physicians' organizations that was filed in the case of Texas vs the United States. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network submitted a similar appeal on behalf of disease-fighting organizations. In February, officials from 20 states filed a lawsuit led by Texas that challenges the constitutionality of ACA. Its lawsuit contends that Congress rendered ACA "unconstitutional" because of recent tax legislation that stripped away the financial penalty for failing to comply with the individual mandate in the ACA requiring health insurance coverage. "This lawsuit adds further disruption to an insurance market that has been harmed by premium increases and political battles," said Barbara McAneny, MD, president of AMA. Kathleen Maloney Skambis, a member of the board of the American Lung Association, noted insurers often used to review patients' prior medical histories and bills in order to find a reason to evade paying for care of serious illnesses. Before ACA, a past report of an ache or dizzy spell could be construed by insurers as evidence of an undisclosed preexisting condition, said Skambis. (Click for more...) Senate Judiciary Committee advances CREATES Act 6/16/2018 1:05:01 AM Senate Judiciary Committee advances CREATES Act Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Sat, 06/16/2018 - 01:05 The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced on Thursday the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act. The bill, which seeks to increase generic drug competition, now heads to the full Senate for consideration. The measure is sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and is cosponsored by 28 senators, including 14 Republicans, 13 Democrats, and one Independent. The House version of the legislation has yet to be taken up in committee this Congress. The Judiciary Committee also voted to report a separate bill that focuses on opioid diversion to the full Senate. (Click for more...) Effect of restricting the legal supply of prescription opioids on buying through online illicit marketplaces 6/16/2018 1:05:01 AM Effect of restricting the legal supply of prescription opioids on buying through online illicit marketplaces Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Sat, 06/16/2018 - 01:05 Researchers examined how illegal online markets for opioids have been affected by DEA's 2014 decision to reclassify hydrocodone combination products as Schedule II from the less-restrictive Schedule III category. Their interrupted time analysis focused on 31 of the world's biggest "cryptomarkets" during the period of October 2013–July 2016. With the drugs now more difficult to procure, the evidence signaled that sales of prescription opioids through this medium picked up after the schedule change was implemented. By 2016, they accounted for 13.7% of all drug sales via cryptomarkets—twice what the volume would have been without the scheduling change, according to model estimates. A shift was also documented to more powerful formulations of prescription opioids, especially fentanyl and oxycodone—the former of which was the least purchased drug early on in the study period but the second-most purchased drug at the end. The share of transactions involving illicit opioids such as heroin and prescription sedatives, steroids, and stimulants, meanwhile, was little altered. Not only was the trend unique to prescription opioids, it was observed only in the United States. Potential supply-side interventions include offering reliable treatment options, addressing overprescribing behaviors, and educating the public about the risks of prescription opioid use. (Click for more...) FDA approves first generic versions of buprenorphine and naloxone sublingual film 6/16/2018 1:05:01 AM FDA approves first generic versions of buprenorphine and naloxone sublingual film Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Sat, 06/16/2018 - 01:05 FDA approved Thursday the first generic versions of buprenorphine and naloxone (Suboxone—Indivior) sublingual film for the treatment of opioid dependence. Mylan Technologies and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories received FDA approval to market buprenorphine and naloxone sublingual film in multiple strengths. "The FDA is taking new steps to advance the development of improved treatments for opioid use disorder, and to make sure these medicines are accessible to the patients who need them. That includes promoting the development of better drugs, and also facilitating market entry of generic versions of approved drugs to help ensure broader access," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD. Gottlieb also noted the agency is taking steps to address the stigma associated with opioid replacement therapy when treating addiction. Adverse events frequently observed with the buprenorphine and naloxone sublingual film include oral hypoesthesia, glossodynia, oral mucosal erythema, headache, nausea, vomiting, hyperhidrosis, constipation, signs and symptoms of withdrawal, insomnia, pain, and peripheral edema. FDA noted these products may only be prescribed by Drug Addiction Treatment Act-certified prescribers. (Click for more...) Fewer U.S. high school students having sex, using drugs 6/16/2018 1:05:01 AM Fewer U.S. high school students having sex, using drugs Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Sat, 06/16/2018 - 01:05 The results of the 2017 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey show that fewer high school students report ever having sex or having four or more sexual partners, but use of condoms during last sex declined as well. According to the survey, the percentage of high school students who reported ever having sex dropped to 39.5% in 2017 from 47.8% a decade earlier, while the percentage of high school students reporting having had four or more sexual partners fell to 9.7% from 14.9%. However, the percentage of students reporting use of a condom during last sex declined from 61.5% in 2007 to 53.8% a decade later. The survey also noted that the percentage of students who ever reported using select illicit drugs—cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, inhalants, hallucinogens, or ecstasy—declined from 22.6% in 2007 to 14.0% in 2017; but the survey also revealed that 14.0% of U.S. high school students reported misusing prescriptions opioids last year (the first year for data). Other findings from the survey include that nearly 1 in 5 students reported being bullied at school; 1 in 10 female students and 1 in 28 male students reported having been physically forced to have sex, and the proportion of students who reported in 2017 having persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness increased to 1 in 3. "The health of our youth reflects the nation's wellbeing," said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD. "In the past decade, there have been substantial improvements in the behaviors that put students most at risk for HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. However, we can't yet declare success when so many young people are getting HIV and STDs, and experiencing disturbingly high rates of substance use, violence, and suicide." (Click for more...) Opting out of vaccines leaves these U.S. 'hot spots' most vulnerable for outbreaks 6/16/2018 1:05:01 AM Opting out of vaccines leaves these U.S. 'hot spots' most vulnerable for outbreaks Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Sat, 06/16/2018 - 01:05 The risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease is escalating in two-thirds of the 18 states that allow nonmedical exemptions from childhood vaccinations, according to a new study in PLOS Medicine. Since 2009, these states have seen a rise in the number of children entering kindergarten with vaccine exemptions for "philosophical" or other nonmedical reasons. Certain "hot spot" metropolitan regions, ranging from Seattle to Pittsburgh, also show a significant proportion of nonmedical exemptions and thus may be particularly vulnerable to outbreaks. High numbers of unimmunized children living in big cities with major international airports may contribute to the risk of a rapid spread of disease, the researchers found. The study also identified several smaller counties in Idaho, Wisconsin, and Utah with very high exemption rates. These include Morgan, UT, where 15% of the kindergarten population has a non-medical vaccine exemption, and Camas, ID, where that rate is 27%. Peter Hotez, MD, a coauthor of the study and dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine, noted that vaccination coverage in 90% to 95% of all children is required to protect against highly infectious diseases. (Click for more...) Metabolic effects of antipsychotics on adiposity and insulin sensitivity in youths 6/16/2018 1:05:01 AM Metabolic effects of antipsychotics on adiposity and insulin sensitivity in youths Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Sat, 06/16/2018 - 01:05 While antipsychotics are often used to treat children and adolescents with disruptive behavioral disorders, researchers say the drugs also influence adiposity and insulin sensitivity in ways that could foster later chronic disease. A clinical trial led by St. Louis-based Washington University School of Medicine involved 144 patients, aged 6–18 years, with an active diagnosis but no previous antipsychotic exposure. Participants were evenly randomized to aripiprazole, olanzapine, or risperidone for a period of 12 weeks. While the medications improved behavior, the percentage of total body fat increased from baseline to the end of the study period. The biggest change, 4.12%, was observed with olanzapine, followed by aripiprazole at 1.66% and risperidone at 1.18%. A 2.3% improvement in insulin sensitivity was associated with risperidone, but this metric declined 30.26% with aripiprazole use and 29.34% with olanzapine. While these antipsychotics effectively manage behavioral disorders, the researchers conclude, the treatment benefits must be measured against the metabolic effects of their use—especially with olanzapine—that can lead to premature morbidity and mortality via type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. (Click for more...) Fred's prepares to sell community pharmacy business 6/16/2018 1:05:01 AM Fred's prepares to sell community pharmacy business Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Sat, 06/16/2018 - 01:05 Memphis-based Fred's Inc. plans to sell its community pharmacies, company leaders announced Thursday as it reported quarterly financial results to analysts. The hiring of P.J. Solomon & Company follows Fred's sale of its specialty pharmacy business to CVS Health in a $40 million deal that closed Tuesday. Fred's bulked up in both the specialty and community pharmacy divisions as the most visible part of its planned transition into health care. The effort hit a major snag when Fred's found itself cut out of what became a deal just between Walgreens and Rite -Aid in 2017. Fred's part of the deal was to buy hundreds of Rite Aid stores. "We continue to explore other strategic transactions and expect to generate additional cash proceeds which should meaningfully reduce our debt balance," Fred's interim CEO, Joe Anto, said during the conference call. Fred's reported its first quarter profits were $111.6 million compared with $128.6 million a year ago. (Click for more...) CVS Health expands safe drug disposal at CVS Pharmacy locations in Virginia 6/16/2018 1:05:01 AM CVS Health expands safe drug disposal at CVS Pharmacy locations in Virginia Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Sat, 06/16/2018 - 01:05 CVS Health reports that it has expanded its safe medication disposal program to nearly three dozen CVS Pharmacy locations in Virginia. The program aims to help facilitate the proper and timely disposal of opioids and other medications that could be diverted or misused if left in medicine cabinets. "Every day, our pharmacy teams see firsthand the impact of the alarming and rapidly growing epidemic of opioid addiction and misuse," said Thomas M. Moriarty, chief policy and external affairs officer, CVS Health. "Expanding our safe medication disposal efforts here in Virginia is an extension of the many initiatives in place across our company to fight the opioid abuse epidemic and fulfill our purpose of helping people on their path to better health." In all, 32 new medication disposal units will be installed in CVS Pharmacy locations across Virginia, adding to the 64 units CVS Health has donated to local law enforcement departments in the state. (Click for more...) NY pharmaceutical stewardship report proposes drug take-back program 6/16/2018 1:05:01 AM NY pharmaceutical stewardship report proposes drug take-back program Thu, 06/14/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Sat, 06/16/2018 - 01:05 New York's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Health 2018 Pharmaceutical Stewardship Report focused on the creation of a statewide program to ensure the proper disposal of unused, expired, and unwanted drugs. In 2017, a bill was proposed that would have required chain pharmacies with at least 10 locations to offer mail-back envelopes to consumers for unused pharmaceuticals; however, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo vetoed it due to concerns of financial burdens and unfair distribution. The new program introduced in the report would cover prescription and nonprescription drugs, combination products, drugs in medical devices. and veterinary drugs. The program will not cover sharps collections, vitamins and supplements, homeopathic drugs, herbal remedies, or cosmetic or personal-care products. Still, after reviewing the report, the NY Pharmacist Society said the program is too universal for pharmacies. "We need flexibility in solutions so that each local pharmacy can work with their own community," said Executive Director Kathy M. Febraio. "We are concerned that there might be specific pharmacy requirements that would be identical and won't work for each pharmacy." If the legislation for the program goes forward, DEC Chief of Staff Julia W. Tighe suggested there should be a waiver that would allow pharmacies to make the program best for their space. (Click for more...) APhA Institute of Alcoholism and Drug Dependencies is life-changing educational experience 6/15/2018 8:53:33 AM APhA Institute of Alcoholism and Drug Dependencies is life-changing educational experience Fri, 06/15/2018 - 08:57 ehaberkorn@aph… Fri, 06/15/2018 - 08:53 For fourth-year University of Toledo student pharmacist Nicole Guist, attending the APhA Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependencies is important, as both a pharmacist and a person. (Click for more...) FDA clears new Omnipod insulin delivery system 6/15/2018 12:05:01 AM FDA clears new Omnipod insulin delivery system Wed, 06/13/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:05 FDA has cleared Insulet's Omnipod DASH Insulin Management System. The Omnipod, a device in which the insulin is housed in a waterproof "pod" worn on the body for up to 3 days, was first approved by FDA in 2005. The new system includes a separate handheld device called a Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM) that has a touchscreen and works via Bluetooth. The new PDM does not include a glucose meter and instead, works with a separate Contour Next One Blood Glucose Meter (Ascencia) so that blood glucose readings can be viewed on the PDM and entered into the bolus calculator. Additionally, Omnipod DASH includes a "Display" smartphone app that will allow users to view both their meter and continuous glucose data on their smartphones, whereas a "View" app allows remote users to follow from a distance. Insulet will begin with a limited market launch and will provide the DASH PDM free to current users with the purchase of new pods. "Our number one priority is to continue to minimize the daily strain on those impacted by diabetes and we are confident this system, and eliminating the system's upfront cost, do just that," said Patrick Sullivan, Insulet chairman and chief executive officer. (Click for more...) Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS to offer free HIV testing 6/15/2018 12:05:01 AM Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS to offer free HIV testing Wed, 06/13/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:05 Walgreens announced Wednesday that it is teaming up with Greater Than AIDS and 220 health departments, AIDS service organizations, and other community groups to help provide free HIV testing and information at participating Walgreens stores in more than 180 cities on National HIV Testing Day, which is June 27. This year, Walgreens and Greater Than AIDS are working with the testing partners to expand the free testing to even more locations, focusing in particular on communities that have been heavily affected. In all, more than 40,000 HIV tests have been conducted as part of this activation since 2011. Glen Pietrandoni, senior director, patient care and advocacy, at Walgreens, noted: "Early testing can mean access to effective treatment and the opportunity to go on to live a healthy normal lifespan. ... As we continue to work towards an end to HIV/AIDS, it is crucial that testing and trusted resources on treatment are made more widely available within communities." As part of the program, BioLytical Laboratories and OraSure Technologies are donating test kits, and Abbott Rapid Diagnostics will provide outreach support. (Click for more...) Cigna CFO says push to control specialty drug costs drove Express Scripts acquisition 6/15/2018 12:05:01 AM Cigna CFO says push to control specialty drug costs drove Express Scripts acquisition Wed, 06/13/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:05 Cigna's chief financial officer, Eric Palmer, says that rising specialty drug costs were a key reason behind the company's decision to purchase Express Scripts. The company offered the "single best capability to meaningfully move the needle on affordability," largely because of its experience with specialty pharmaceuticals, Palmer told investors at the Goldman Sachs Annual Global Healthcare Conference. That includes Cigna's in-house PBM, Catamaran, which Cigna supplements through a contract with OptumRx. Palmer said Express Scripts' ability to manage specialty drugs is "really a difference maker" in the transaction. "It's not something that's part of our arrangement with Optum," he said. Projections indicate that specialty pharmacy cost growth will not be slowing in the near future. Critics of the deal, valued at $67 billion, have raised concerns that the combined companies will impede competition without benefiting consumers. Palmer noted that Cigna does not plan to focus on provider groups acquisitions, unlike its rivals, including UnitedHealth, Humana, and Anthem. "Our orientation has been that we were able to be most effective in driving partnerships rather than owning the groups directly," Palmer said. "We would expect to continue on that path." (Click for more...) Physician-led effort slashes post-surgical opioid prescriptions by 63% 6/15/2018 12:05:01 AM Physician-led effort slashes post-surgical opioid prescriptions by 63% Wed, 06/13/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:05 New research suggests that patients' post-operative pain can be managed with fewer opioids prescribed. University of Michigan associate professor Chad Brummett, MD, recently presented evidence on this at a recent webinar sponsored by the American Medical Association Organized Medical Staff Section. Brummett cited a number of studies, including an April 2017 report in the Annals of Surgery which found that, among patients undergoing five common outpatient procedures, opioid prescriptions for post-operative pain varied widely. Furthermore, 70% of the prescribed opioid doses were never used. Meanwhile, post-operative opioid analgesic prescribing did not have a correlation with scoring on Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems pain measures, according to a May 2017 Journal of the American Medical Association research letter written by Brummett and his colleagues. They developed new prescribing guidelines for post-operative laparoscopic gall bladder removal that lowered the median total oral morphine milligram equivalent (MME) of prescriptions by 63%, from 250 MME to 75 MME. Additionally, in a March 2018 JAMA Surgery research letter, Brummett and colleagues wrote that patients reported using fewer opioids and that refill reductions dropped from 4.1% to 2.5%. (Click for more...) Investors in health care mergers cheer judge's OK of AT&T-Time Warner deal 6/15/2018 12:05:01 AM Investors in health care mergers cheer judge's OK of AT&T-Time Warner deal Wed, 06/13/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:05 A federal judge's decision approving AT&T's $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner prompted shares of four health care companies awaiting approval by regulators in Connecticut merger deals to jump immediately. Despite the differences between the cable and health care industries, analysts say the decision against the Department of Justice bodes well for the other deals waiting to close. Investors see AT&T’s victory as a possible brake on U.S. regulators who may seek to block other large corporate mergers. Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said the government had failed to prove any of its arguments against the merger during the trial. Leerink analyst Ana Gupte said in a client note that the decision is precedent-setting and has positive implications for deals in which Cigna is seeking to buy Express Scripts Holding for $67 billion and CVS Health has proposed a $69 billion purchase of Aetna. (Click for more...) E-prescribing bill clears Senate panel 6/15/2018 12:05:01 AM E-prescribing bill clears Senate panel Wed, 06/13/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:05 The Senate Finance Committee passed this week the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act. Under the measure, all schedule II through IV controlled substances under Medicare Part D would be prescribed electronically. The bill—which aims to prevent abuse, fraud, and waste—was introduced by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Dean Heller (R-NV), with original cosponsors Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA). The legislation is backed by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), whose president and CEO Steve Anderson noted that "enhanced use of electronic prescribing is an important part of the comprehensive effort to keep opioids out of the wrong hands, and we urge continued vigilance to assure enactment of this legislation." According to a Morning Consult poll commissioned by NACDS in January, approximately three-quarters of respondents said they supported rules that all prescriptions must be handled electronically as a way to fight the opioid crisis. (Click for more...) Review will investigate possible unfairness in prescription drug pricing 6/15/2018 12:05:01 AM Review will investigate possible unfairness in prescription drug pricing Wed, 06/13/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:05 Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale announced Wednesday he will review prescription drug pricing in the state, including the practices of PBMs. Sen. Tom McGarrigle (R-Delaware) shared his concerns with DePasquale last week, noting that independent drug stores are concerned whether the reimbursement rate for a prescription drug is being fairly distributed across different pharmacies. DePasquale said the review will specifically investigate questions such as how PBMs bill insurance companies as well as ways to ensure transparency and accountability for prescription pricing. Furthermore, the review will assess if PBMs rightfully give pharmacies savings and rebates received from drug manufacturers and determine if reimbursement rates for pharmacies are consistent. "The broader concern is making sure Pennsylvanians have access to the same pricing for their prescription drugs," DePasquale said. Patricia Epple, CEO of the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association, said she is hoping for a reduction of Medicaid costs to taxpayers and fair reimbursements for community pharmacists. Epple noted companies with PBMs have reimbursed community pharmacists at rates lower than the cost of the drug and lower than pharmacies they own, increasing the cost of Medicaid and eliminating competition. (Click for more...) HHS secretary Azar calls for 'a system without rebates' 6/15/2018 12:05:01 AM HHS secretary Azar calls for 'a system without rebates' Wed, 06/13/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:05 In recent testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, HHS Secretary Alex Azar told lawmakers that it may be time to eliminate the system of rebates that drug companies and PBMs use to set and negotiate prices. Azar said, "We may need to move toward a system without rebates, where PBMs and drug companies just negotiate fixed-price contracts. Such a system's incentives, detached from artificial list prices, would likely serve patients far better." U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), chairman of the committee, has questioned the need for rebates because they make it harder to track true drug spending. Azar's testimony came as the FDA released the final version of a plan to make it easier for drugmakers and insurance companies to negotiate pricing deals via value-based agreements. Under such arrangements, the amount an insurer covers is based on a specific outcome, such as keeping patients from being hospitalized, rather than a flat fee. Value-based deals have already been struck for such treatments as Merck & Co.'s diabetes medications and Novartis AG's heart-failure therapy. The pharmaceutical industry has asked for clarification over how a value-based payment would affect the amount Medicaid pays. (Click for more...) West Virginia AG urges doctors, pharmacists to embrace anti-opioid law 6/15/2018 12:05:01 AM West Virginia AG urges doctors, pharmacists to embrace anti-opioid law Wed, 06/13/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:05 West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is calling on doctors and pharmacists in the state to support a new anti-retaliation law to alleviate any negative consequences for doctors who follow their best medical judgment and refuse to prescribe opioids. The first-of-its-kind provision gained passage as part of Senate Bill 273 and took effect this month. "Health care providers now have another tool to fight opioid abuse and help end senseless death in West Virginia," said Morrisey. "Doctors, pharmacists, and anyone else who prescribes or dispenses opioid prescriptions must now realize that state law allows them to follow their conscience and refuse to prescribe opioid pain medications in favor of non-addictive options." Many providers have felt increased pressure to treat pain with opioids, in part, because of an assessment that relied heavily upon patient satisfaction surveys. Senate Bill 273 makes it unlawful for any person or entity to threaten or punish a health care provider who refuses to administer, dispense, or prescribe opioid analgesics. "Having the right to refuse will empower physicians to do the right thing and use their conscience," said Bradley Henry, MD, president of the West Virginia State Medical Association. "There's going to be a learning curve in the medical field, but all in all it's a good thing and a step in the right direction." (Click for more...) Effect of dengue serostatus on dengue vaccine safety and efficacy 6/15/2018 12:05:01 AM Effect of dengue serostatus on dengue vaccine safety and efficacy Wed, 06/13/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:05 The recombinant, live, attenuated, tetravalent dengue vaccine (CYD-TDV)—the first vaccine against the mosquito-borne disease—protected against severe virologically confirmed dengue (VCD) and hospitalization for VCD for 5 years in individuals who had exposure to dengue prior to vaccination, new research shows. For the case–cohort study, researchers reanalyzed data from three efficacy trials of the vaccine, using baseline serostatus determined on the basis of measured or imputed titers from a 50% plaque-reduction neutralization test. According to the data, for dengue-seronegative participants aged 2–16 years, the cumulative 5-year incidence of hospitalization for VCD was 3.06% among vaccine recipients and 1.87% among controls. For dengue-seronegative participants aged 9–16 years, the cumulative incidence of hospitalization for VCD was 1.57% among vaccine recipients and 1.09% among controls. The researchers note that similar trends toward a higher risk among seronegative vaccine recipients than among seronegative controls were also seen with severe VCD. The cumulative incidence of hospitalization for VCD among dengue-seropositive participants aged 2–16 years and 9–16 years was 0.75% and 0.38%, respectively, among vaccine recipients and 2.47% and 1.88% among controls. "Our findings indicate a major role for previous dengue exposure in modifying vaccine performance and provide some evidence of a possible age effect," the researchers write. "However, since age is associated with dengue exposure, it remains unclear whether these findings reflect undetected dengue exposure that was not captured by the assays (i.e., false seronegatives) or age-specific differences after vaccination or infection." (Click for more...) Oral fluconazole in pregnancy and risk of stillbirth and neonatal death 6/15/2018 12:05:01 AM Oral fluconazole in pregnancy and risk of stillbirth and neonatal death Wed, 06/13/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:05 Despite a suspected association between fluconazole and stillbirths, as many as 4% of U.S. women still use it while pregnant. Researchers in Norway and Sweden used registry data to identify all pregnancies and singleton live births and stillbirths in both countries, about 1.48 million collectively during 2005–15. Pregnancies where the mother took fluconazole at any point during gestation were matched by age and propensity score with pregnancies where the mother had zero exposure to fluconazole. The stillbirth rate was 2.7 per 1,000 for exposed pregnancies and 3.6 per 1,000 for unexposed pregnancies. The rate of neonatal death, occurring up to 27 days after live birth, was 1.2 and 1.7 per 1,000, respectively. The results of this cohort study do not support a correlation between fluconazole use during pregnancy and higher risk for stillbirth or neonatal death in the offspring. Even so, the investigators agree that more research is needed. (Click for more...) Antithrombotic therapy for peripheral artery disease in 2018 6/15/2018 12:05:01 AM Antithrombotic therapy for peripheral artery disease in 2018 Wed, 06/13/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:05 More than 200 million people globally suffer from peripheral artery disease (PAD), or atherosclerosis of the lower extremities, and are subsequently at greater risk for adverse cardiac and limb events. To treat, write Connie N. Hess, MD, and William R. Hiatt, MD, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, physicians should tailor their care according to each patient's clinical presentation. Antithrombotic therapy is not recommended, for instance, in patients with asymptomatic PAD—unless there is clinical evidence of coronary or cerebrovascular disease. If they do present with coronary or cerebrovascular disease and also have symptoms, they should be treated with aspirin or clopidogrel monotherapy in order to prevent myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, or cardiovascular death. A combination of symptomatic PAD and elevated risk for ischemic limb events warrants treatment with aspirin combined with vorapaxar to address amputation and other risks. Hess and Hiatt warn, however, that adding antithrombotic therapies to aspirin is known to elevate the risk of major bleeding. Meanwhile, the best antithrombotic approach for patients with critical leg ischemia has yet to be determined. (Click for more...) HHS Secretary says several drug companies looking at 'substantial' price cuts 6/13/2018 11:05:01 PM HHS Secretary says several drug companies looking at 'substantial' price cuts Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:05 HHS Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions that several drug companies are looking at "substantial and material" price cuts. He said in testimony before the committee that companies are working with PBMs to make sure "they are not discriminated against" for cutting their prices. PBMs currently have an incentive to provide more favorable coverage to drugs with higher list prices, Azar said. He did not identify any of the companies that were considering such price cuts. FDA also released guidance Tuesday to make it easier for drug companies to provide insurers and other payers with economic information about their drugs, including those that are not yet approved. Drug companies said this guidance will make it easier for them and insurers to enter into "value-based" contracts, in which the price of a drug is more closely tied to how well it works for patients in the real world. Azar also called on Congress to take action to ban gag clauses that prevent pharmacists from telling consumers about lower-priced drug options. (Click for more...) Prevalence of prescription medications with depression as a potential adverse effect 6/13/2018 11:05:01 PM Prevalence of prescription medications with depression as a potential adverse effect Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:05 Use of prescription medications that list depression as a potential adverse effect is common, according to new research. The cross-sectional study, led by Dima Mazen Qato of the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Pharmacy, was conducted between 2005 and 2014, using data from five 2-year cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Among the more than 26,000 adults included in the study, 7.6% reported depression. The overall estimated prevalence of use of medications with depression as an adverse effect was 37.2%, rising from 35.0% in 2005–06 to 38.4% in 2013–14. The percentage of adults reporting use of three or more concurrent medications with a potential for depression as an adverse effect rose from an estimated 6.9% in 2005 and 2006 to 9.5% in 2013 and 2014. Excluding users of antidepressants, the number of medications used with depression listed as a possible adverse effects was linked to greater prevalence of concurrent depression. For individuals reporting use of three or more medications with depression as an adverse effect, the estimated prevalence of depression was 15%, compared with 4.7% for those not using such medications. Based on the findings, the researchers suggest that "physicians ... consider discussing these associations with their patients who are prescribed medications that have depression as a potential adverse effect." (Click for more...) Paternal use of antidepressants and offspring outcomes in Sweden 6/13/2018 11:05:01 PM Paternal use of antidepressants and offspring outcomes in Sweden Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:05 A prospective study out of Sweden explored whether preterm birth, malformations, autism, and intellectual disability could be linked to the father's use of antidepressants around the time when the baby was conceived. The dataset included about 170,500 children nationwide conceived from July 29, 2005, born in 2006–07, followed up to 2014. Among them were 3,983 children born to men who were on antidepressive medications 4 weeks before conception to 4 weeks after, 2,033 whose fathers did not use the drugs during the conception period but did later in the pregnancy period, and 164,492 children with no parental antidepressant exposure at all. The analysis showed that children whose fathers used antidepressants at conception were no more likely than children whose fathers did not use them to be born early, be malformed, or develop autism. Moreover, they were actually at a lower risk of intellectual disability than kids with no paternal exposure to antidepressants. (Click for more...) Type 2 myocardial infarction--Diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment 6/13/2018 11:05:01 PM Type 2 myocardial infarction--Diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:05 Myocardial infarction (MI) can have a number of underlying causes, with the Task Force for the Redefinition of MI in 2007 narrowing the condition down to five subtypes. Among them is type 2 MI, which is characterized by a myocardial oxygen supply and demand mismatch that is mediated by something other than coronary artery disease. Some sources maintain that type 2 MI has become more prevalent than type 1 MI—or spontaneous infarction—yet there is little in the way of existing high-quality evidence on type 2 MI from prospective trials, and there are no guidelines or consensus documents to help inform clinical management. The incidence of type 2 MI is expected to only increase going forward, especially with high-sensitivity troponin assays now being widely used in the United States for diagnostic purposes. At the same time, the outlook for type 2 MI patients—which often strikes older adults with comorbidities—is poor. In light of this information, researchers at Brigham & Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, both in Boston, write that much more must be done to better define type 2 MI, to better understand its biological pathway, and to identify effective management approaches. Otherwise, they conclude, this increasingly common diagnosis will continue to suffer a lack of effective strategies to lower the associated risk of death. (Click for more...) ARH pharmacies now offer at-home prescription drug disposal product 6/13/2018 11:05:01 PM ARH pharmacies now offer at-home prescription drug disposal product Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:05 Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) community pharmacies are allowing patients to safely dispose of unwanted prescription drugs at home. Upon request, ARH community pharmacies will provide a free DisposeRx packet to any patient receiving a controlled substance prescription. Adding the DisposeRx powder and water to a vial will cause the contents to solidify in less than 10 minutes. The vial may then be thrown away with household trash. Additional packets may be purchased for non-controlled substances at a minimal cost. If accidentally ingested, the DisposeRx powder is harmless. "Our goal is to change the way people think about leftover medications," says Tiffany Herald, ARH managed care pharmacist. "Studies show that up to 70% of opiate's provided to patients for short-term pain control may go unused." (Click for more...) Hepatitis C clinic shows future of pharmacy 6/13/2018 11:05:01 PM Hepatitis C clinic shows future of pharmacy Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:05 The Hepatitis C Clinic at the University of North Texas (UNT) Health Science Center can significantly improve medication adherence, according to Jennifer Fix, PharmD, associate professor of pharmacotherapy. That is because the person managing every patient's care at the clinic, in collaboration with the health care team, is a pharmacist. Having a pharmacist-led hepatitis C service in the UNT Health Clinical Practice Group is groundbreaking, said Charles Taylor, dean, UNT System College of Pharmacy. The program integrates the pharmacist into the health care team, he said. Fix is one of six pharmacy faculty members embedded in a UNT Health medical practice. She works with doctors in the gastroenterology clinic to assess patients, make treatment decisions, navigate insurance and the prior authorization system, order lab work, and follows each patient's progress. "The health care outcome we are aiming for is that our hepatitis C patients are cured by taking the medications prescribed," Fix said. "Most of the time they just need some encouragement that they can get through the 8 to 12 weeks of treatment." (Click for more...) A multilayered approach to pharmacy portal security 6/13/2018 11:05:01 PM A multilayered approach to pharmacy portal security Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:05 As cybersecurity threats grow rampant, pharmacies must find ways to protect health information without affecting the patients' and staff's experience, writes Rene Lopez of LexisNexis Risk Solutions. Patients want user-friendly patient portals that provide medication history, outstanding bills, and much more, but are worried about identity theft. Surveys show that approximately two-thirds of medical identity theft victims spent an average of $13,500 to cover the health care bills accumulated in their name, to recover their health insurance, and to pay legal fees, according to Consumer Reports. A pharmacy's security plan should feature a multilayered defense platform, says Lopez. According to the author, "To keep up with today's threats, pharmacies need to be proactive about security: identify the security gaps in their current portals and consider ways to improve or augment protection and services." Given the importance of health care data today, Lopez asserts that the industry must "take appropriate measures to protect patients' most valuable asset." (Click for more...) FDA's efforts to foster discovery and development of new tools to fight antimicrobial-resistant infections 6/13/2018 11:05:01 PM FDA's efforts to foster discovery and development of new tools to fight antimicrobial-resistant infections Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:05 In a new statement, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, discusses the growth of serious antimicrobial drug-resistant infections in the United States. Calling the issue "a critical public health concern and a growing threat to patients," he notes some of the scientific and economic challenges in antibiotic drug development, such as developers' hesitance to make significant investments in a product when they know there will be a very limited market for it. To that end, one step being taken is implementing a set of special incentives that Congress developed for antibacterial and antifungal drugs that treat serious or life-threatening infections. Gottlieb explains that under the program, new drug applications that receive the qualified infectious disease product designation can receive fast-track designation, priority-review designation, and a possible 5-year extension of any exclusivity that the application qualifies for upon approval. He also says, "One idea that we're currently discussing with other agencies such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would involve changing the model for reimbursement of certain new, antimicrobial drugs that meet critical, public health needs—principally their ability to effectively target dangerous, multidrug-resistant infections." These ideas are still being developed, Gottlieb adds, noting he hopes there will be more public engagement around these concepts. He says the agency is also taking steps to help further development of improved antimicrobial drugs, with measures that increase the efficiency and predictability of the development process. FDA has issued draft guidance to aid in the development of drugs using the Limited Population Pathway for Antibacterial and Antifungal Drugs (LPAD pathway). When finalized, the guidance will support drug development by listing the criteria, processes, and other general considerations for drugs approved under the LPAD pathway. In addition, it will help companies in developing labeling to inform the medical community that the drug was approved under this important pathway based on a benefit-risk assessment in a limited population. (Click for more...) New AMA policy reflects frustration over ongoing drug shortages 6/13/2018 11:05:01 PM New AMA policy reflects frustration over ongoing drug shortages Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:05 Responding to ongoing national drug shortages that threaten patient care and safety, physicians gathered at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) on Tuesday adopted a policy declaring drug shortages an urgent public health crisis. The new declaration strengthens existing AMA policy outlining the physician prescription for a comprehensive solution to ongoing drug shortages. Many of the drugs currently in shortage are everyday products required for patient care in all medical settings, such as sterile I.V. products containing saline or other fluids. Shortages of these basic products, and their containers, increased following hurricane damage to production facilities in Puerto Rico, leaving the health care system scrambling for options that were either limited or risky. In response to hazards that pose a threat to the resilience of drug production, AMA will urge HHS and the Department of Homeland Security to examine drug shortages as a national security initiative. This would result in drug manufacturing sites being designated as critical infrastructure with vital importance to the nation’s public health. AMA calls for greater manufacturer transparency regarding production location and problems that may lead to a drug shortage. Given uncertainty regarding these sites as alternative sources for drugs in short supply, AMA also calls for more information on the quality of outsourcing compounding facilities. (Click for more...) FDA efforts to advance medical product communications to support drug competition and value-based health care 6/13/2018 11:05:01 PM FDA efforts to advance medical product communications to support drug competition and value-based health care Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:05 FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, reports the FDA is working to provide clear guidance to drug companies about open, responsible communication with payors, formulary committees, and others. The agency is issuing updated, final guidance documents that provide increased clarity about its thinking and recommendations for some medical product communications. Gottlieb notes the guidance will "inform market participants developing contracts that include value-based arrangements how to communicate information about how a drug might impact outcomes that are important to purchasers like a health plan or hospital, but is not an endpoint that is expressly described in the drug's approved labeling." The first guidance, "Drug and Device Manufacturer Communications with Payors, Formulary Committees, and Similar Entities—Questions and Answers," addresses common questions about companies' communications to payors, recognizing that payors are looking for a range of information about the effectiveness, safety, and cost-effectiveness of approved/cleared medical products. The second guidance, "Medical Product Communications That Are Consistent With the FDA-Required Labeling," includes the FDA's views on manufacturers' communication of information that is not contained in the FDA-required labeling for their products, but that is consistent with that labeling. "Together, we believe these two guidances will provide clarity to companies as they develop communications about their medical products and help ensure that patients, providers and insurers have access to a range of relevant, truthful and non-misleading information from companies about medical products," Gottlieb says. (Click for more...) Massachusetts AG Maura Healey sues opioid maker Purdue Pharma 6/13/2018 11:05:01 PM Massachusetts AG Maura Healey sues opioid maker Purdue Pharma Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:05 Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey on Tuesday sued oxycodone (OxyContin) maker Purdue Pharma, alleging the company and its executives knowingly engaged in a scheme to mislead doctors and consumers about the deadly dangers of its opioids. Healey claims the company and 16 of its key directors and executives actively obfuscated the truth about opioid use, downplaying the perils of addiction and overdoses with the aim of getting more people to take them at higher doses for longer periods of time in order to help the business's bottom line. Since May 2007, Purdue salespeople met with Massachusetts prescribers and pharmacists more than 150,000 times, the lawsuit says. It cites several different doctors Purdue allegedly targeted, with sales representatives pressing the prescribers to dole out more and higher doses of the company's opioids. The company said it "vigorously" denies Healey's allegations. "We believe it is inappropriate for the Commonwealth to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the regulatory, scientific, and medical experts at FDA," a company statement said. Other state attorneys general have taken similar legal action against Purdue. (Click for more...) House set to vote on dozens of bills aimed at fighting deadly opioid epidemic 6/13/2018 11:05:01 PM House set to vote on dozens of bills aimed at fighting deadly opioid epidemic Tue, 06/12/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Wed, 06/13/2018 - 23:05 In the coming weeks, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on dozens of bills aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic. The measures include proposals that seek to stop illegal drugs from entering the United States, change how opioids are distributed, make opioid addiction treatment more readily available, and accelerate research on non-addictive pain treatments. A number of the proposals have bipartisan support and developed from a series of hearings held by a House committee. The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved more than 50 opioid-related bills and sent them to the full House for consideration. In the Senate, meanwhile, a separate opioids package includes more than 40 proposals. A Senate committee cleared the package in April, and it is now awaiting a vote on the floor. (Click for more...) CMS leverages Medicaid program to combat the opioid crisis 6/12/2018 10:05:01 PM CMS leverages Medicaid program to combat the opioid crisis Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:05 CMS released on Monday guidance that aims to help states leverage Medicaid to fight the opioid crisis. According to CMS, the guidance includes information to states on the tools available to them, describes the types of approaches they can use to fight the epidemic, ensures states know what resources are available, and details promising practices for addressing the needs of beneficiaries facing opioid addiction. CMS has issued an Informational Bulletin that gives states information they can use when designing approaches to covering critical treatment services for Medicaid-eligible infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome. In addition, the agency has issued a letter to states on how they may best use federal funding to enhance Medicaid technology to fight drug addiction and the opioid epidemic. HHS Secretary Alex Azar said, "Today's announcement reflects the Trump administration and HHS's commitment to helping states use Medicaid to support treatment for this condition and other challenges produced by our country's crisis of opioid addiction. State-level innovation, including in the use of prescription drug monitoring programs and electronic health records, has been and will be a key piece of ending this crisis." (Click for more...) Outbreak of HAV infections among persons who use drugs and persons experiencing homelessness 6/12/2018 10:05:01 PM Outbreak of HAV infections among persons who use drugs and persons experiencing homelessness Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:05 CDC is working with state health departments to investigate hepatitis A virus (HAV) outbreaks in a number of states among individuals who report drug use and/or homelessness and their contacts. CDC has issued a Health Alert Network Advisory to inform public health departments, health care facilities, and programs providing services to affected populations about the outbreaks and to provide guidance in identifying and preventing new infections. More than 2,500 reports of HAV infections associated with person-to-person transmission were reported in multiple states from January 2017 and April 2018. Among the more than 1,900 reports for which risk factors are known, 68% of the infected individuals report drug use (injection and non-injection), homelessness, or both. Responses conducted in some states led to increased vaccine demand and usage, which in turn has resulted in constrained supplies of HAV vaccine. "As available vaccine supply has increased and progress has been made towards controlling ongoing outbreaks in some jurisdictions, vaccine is more readily available," CDC said, adding that it is continuing to closely monitor demand for adult HAV vaccine. To prevent further HAV transmission, CDC offers recommendations for health departments and health care providers for diagnoses, reporting, vaccination, and education. (Click for more...) Most Americans miss out on preventive health care 6/12/2018 10:05:01 PM Most Americans miss out on preventive health care Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:05 Less than 10% of U.S. adults receive all of the preventive health care services recommended for them, according to a new study in Health Affair. Survey data for almost 2,800 individuals older than age 35 years reveals that just 8% received all 15 high-priority preventive services, including blood pressure and cholesterol checks, screening for osteoporosis and several cancers, and vaccinations. "Some of the commonly known reasons for not getting the recommended preventive services include lack of health insurance; lack of a usual doctor or nurse; and problems with health care delivery including wait times in clinics or doctors' offices," said Amanda Borsky of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in Rockville, MD, who led the study. She said that adults can ask their health care provider what preventive services are recommended for them based on their age, sex, and medical history. However, she noted that considering the amount of improvement needed, "the solution will require system-level quality improvement efforts." The researchers said that some preventive services—such as blood pressure screening—were frequently received, and more than 20% of the respondents said they had received more than three-quarters of the recommended services. (Click for more...) Millions of kids on ADHD meds decide their treatment as adults 6/12/2018 10:05:01 PM Millions of kids on ADHD meds decide their treatment as adults Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:05 Many U.S. children diagnosed with ADHD are debating whether to continue taking their medication as they enter into adulthood. Research shows that medication reduces the symptoms of ADD and ADHD approximately 80% of the time. Despite its effectiveness, as children age, they typically want to use the medication less and deal with their symptoms in other ways. Many only use the medication when needed and regulate their medication by what tasks require more concentration, such as school or work. Experts recommend getting a doctor's input before practicing self-regulation of medication. Russell A. Barkley, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Virginia Treatment Center for Children and the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond, stresses the potential hazards associated with self-regulation of ADD/ADHD medications without the supervision of a health care professional. "There can be poor understanding of the side effects profile of the meds, poor dosing, failure to understand any contraindications and dependency from excess usage," Barkley says. (Click for more...) Pharmaceutical makers sending drug-spiked water to treatment plants 6/12/2018 10:05:01 PM Pharmaceutical makers sending drug-spiked water to treatment plants Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:05 A new study led by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey indicates that wastewater treatment plants that accept discharge from nearby pharmaceutical manufacturers have "substantially" higher concentrations of drugs in the water. In one extreme example, an antifungal drug was found at levels 3,000 times higher at a treatment plant near a drug maker compared with treatment plants that do not accept drug maker discharge. Published in Science of the Total Environment, the national study also found high concentrations of antihistamines, diabetes medication, muscle relaxants, blood pressure drugs, insomnia drugs, anti-seizure medication, and anti-inflammatories. Jose Lozano, director of the Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility's Environmental Laboratory in New York who was not involved in the study, says his lab has found that keeping drug-tainted water in the treatment process for longer periods of time helps break down and rid the water of contaminants, but this approach "presents a challenge." He adds that many European countries use ultraviolet light to disinfect such water, but it is energy-intensive and would require "a massive investment." (Click for more...) Walgreens opens 1,000th drug disposal kiosk in Las Vegas 6/12/2018 10:05:01 PM Walgreens opens 1,000th drug disposal kiosk in Las Vegas Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:05 Walgreens opened on Monday its 1,000th medication disposal kiosk in the United States at one of its stores in Las Vegas. The steel-box kiosks are available during store hours for people to drop off unused medications for free. The kiosks help to keep the drugs' active ingredients out of landfills and sewage systems, and they also help to keep drugs out of the wrong hands. Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada, who attended the kiosk unveiling, noted: "I'm sure everyone likely knows somebody who has a friend or a family member who has been affected by opioids and opioid overdose. This is truly, I believe, one of the public health crises of our time." Nevada now has a dozen of the Walgreens kiosks: one in Henderson, nine in Las Vegas, one in North Las Vegas, and one in Reno. Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of operations, noted the kiosks have already collected more than 270 tons of unwanted medications nationwide since the program started 2 years ago. Walgreens plans to open another 500 kiosks in the future. (Click for more...) 65% of Americans can't list dosage of prescription medications 6/12/2018 10:05:01 PM 65% of Americans can't list dosage of prescription medications Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:05 A new national poll on disaster response and preparedness shows that many Americans could not list all of their prescription medication details if they had to evacuate their homes quickly. Conducted by the disaster preparedness firm Healthcare Ready, the survey asked more than 1,100 adults about threats including natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and other emergency situations. According to the survey, natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, or wildfires were the top concern, cited by a third of the respondents. Other concerns included terrorist attacks, disease outbreaks, cyberattacks, and environmental disasters. In terms of preparedness, just 35% of the respondents said they could list all of their prescription details if they had to evacuate quickly without any medications or medical supplies, down from 38% in 2017. Additionally, about 25% of the respondents said they could go 2-3 days without access to their medications before they experienced a negative effect. (Click for more...) Identification and characterization of failures in infectious agent transmission precaution practices in hospitals 6/12/2018 10:05:01 PM Identification and characterization of failures in infectious agent transmission precaution practices in hospitals Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:05 Health care personnel in hospitals often made active failures in personal protective equipment (PPE) use and infectious agent transmission precaution practices, a new study shows. According to a team led by Sarah L. Krein, PhD, RN, from the VA Center for Clinical Management Research, Ann Arbor, MI, the lapses included violations in practice as well as procedural mistakes and unintentional slips. The qualitative study involved direct observation inside and outside patient rooms in the medical and/or surgical units and ICUs at an academic medical center and a Veterans Affairs hospital, and also at the emergency department of the university hospital. Overall, there were 325 room observations at two sites, with about 80% occurring outside and about 20% inside the room. Of the 283 failures observed, there were 102 violations (deviations from safe operating practices or procedures), 144 process or procedural mistakes (failures of intention), and 37 slips (failures of execution). "Our assessment of active failures was not intended to call attention to the failed actions; instead, we wanted to identify the challenges faced by health care personnel that need to be addressed to promote effective PPE use," the researchers write. "The broad array of contributing factors in each type of failure suggests that some circumstances may be more modifiable than others and that a range of strategies—behavioral, organizational, and environmental—may be needed to reduce the transmission risk during routine hospital care." (Click for more...) Technology is helping pharmacies combat the opioid epidemic 6/12/2018 10:05:01 PM Technology is helping pharmacies combat the opioid epidemic Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:05 Advancements in pharmaceutical technology now make it possible for opioids to be tracked more efficiently. Prescription monitoring databases allow systems to alert the pharmacist if it is too soon to fill prescriptions, for example. Pharmacy systems are now integrating with these databases to proactively notify the pharmacist of medication abuse. The pharmacist can alert authorities about a fake prescription that has been provided or alert the patient's medical provider so he or she can address the situation with the patient directly. Increased utilization of electronic prescribing significantly reduces the risk of fraudulent prescriptions being presented to the pharmacy. Prescriptions that are handwritten can be digitally scanned and saved in the pharmacy system. This allows the pharmacist to refer back to another prescription by the prescriber to validate the authenticity of the signature and determine whether or not it was forged. There are inventory systems available that can track exactly how much of each opioid a pharmacy has in stock at all times. The tracking system allows the staff to know when the opioids are filled, how many are filled, and if any potential diversion from within the pharmacy is occurring. The inventory system can alert pharmacists if there are increases in the amount of medication being ordered and whether those thresholds are in violation of any agreements they have with their medication suppliers. (Click for more...) WHO aims to build health worker knowledge of antimicrobial stewardship 6/12/2018 10:05:01 PM WHO aims to build health worker knowledge of antimicrobial stewardship Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:05 The World Health Organization (WHO) has released guidance to help educate and train health workers about antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The 28-page WHO Competence Framework for Health Workers' Education and Training on Antimicrobial Resistance is primarily geared toward education and training institutions, accreditation and licensing bodies, and authorities that develop health policy. According to the WHO, factors that may contribute to the overuse or misuse of antimicrobials among health workers include lack of knowledge; an inability to identify the cause of an infection, which can lead to patient pressure to prescribe antibiotics; and "a preponderance of situations that allow for financial benefit from the supply of medicines." In the guidance, the WHO details "core and additional AMR" competencies, divided into four domain areas: "foundations that build awareness of antimicrobial resistance, appropriate use of antimicrobial agents, infection prevention and control, and diagnostic stewardship and surveillance." The guidance also features a set of tables that detail the knowledge, skills, and attitudes for the health worker categories in each domain. (Click for more...) Trump officials meet with drug companies to push for voluntary price cuts 6/12/2018 10:05:01 PM Trump officials meet with drug companies to push for voluntary price cuts Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:05 HHS officials have reportedly been meeting with pharmaceutical companies to seek voluntary cuts in drug prices. It is not yet clear whether any drug companies have agreed to cut their prices voluntarily. President Donald Trump said at the end of May that "in 2 weeks" drug companies would "announce voluntary massive drops in prices." Officials have not provided any more details on what he meant with those remarks. The 2-week mark is coming up this week. The administration last month put forward a long-awaited plan aimed at lowering drug prices, which included possible proposals such as reclassifying drugs within Medicare to increase competition and requiring drug companies to disclose their prices in television ads. Democrats criticized the proposal as being too soft on drug companies, as it leaves out more sweeping items like having Medicare negotiate drug prices directly. (Click for more...) California orders opioid overdose antidote naloxone available without prescription 6/12/2018 10:05:01 PM California orders opioid overdose antidote naloxone available without prescription Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Tue, 06/12/2018 - 22:05 The California Department of Public Health on June 7 issued a statewide standing order for naloxone. The order functions as a standing prescription that enables all California organizations that work to reduce or manage drug addiction to distribute naloxone to patients and members of the community. The facilities would no longer have to get a prescription from an individual doctor. Public health officials have pushed in recent years to make the medication more accessible. State regulations that took effect in 2015 authorized California pharmacists to make naloxone available without a prescription, but not all pharmacies carry it. But, in some parts of the state, particularly in rural areas, there are physician shortages and treatment facilities often struggle to find a doctor who will write a standing order for naloxone. Some physicians are reluctant to write a standing prescription for patients they have not seen in person, and addiction medicine is outside the purview of many doctors’ practices. Under the state order, Public Health Director Karen Smith, MD, would now serve as the prescribing physician for naloxone for these facilities. The facilities must apply to the California Department of Public Health to receive the order. (Click for more...) Aetna leans on analytics, state health departments to curb antibiotic overprescribing 6/11/2018 9:05:01 PM Aetna leans on analytics, state health departments to curb antibiotic overprescribing Sun, 06/10/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Mon, 06/11/2018 - 21:05 Aetna has sent nearly 1,500 letters to antibiotic "superprescribers" across 43 states as part of an initiative to reduce overprescribing. The insurer is also working with health departments in six states, using co-branded letters signed by state officials to strengthen the messaging. Aetna used its existing partnership with the CDC to connect with states where it had a high membership and the health department was interested in controlling antibiotic prescribing. The six states were California, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, and Virginia. In Texas, the state's health commissioner included an accompanying letter warning about the threats of antibiotic resistance. Last year, Aetna started working with the CDC on antibiotic prescribing for acute bronchitis in adults. A study published in the journal Antibiotics in December found that 62% of adults with uncomplicated acute bronchitis were prescribed antibiotics at family medical clinics between 2011 and 2016. Using data analytics, Aetna isolated physicians in its network that inappropriately prescribed antibiotics for bronchitis at least 50% of the time to at least five members. Aetna also sent 175 letters to antibiotic stewardship "champion" providers who avoided inappropriate antibiotic prescribing 100% of the time for at least three members with bronchitis. (Click for more...) Pennsylvania legislators introduce measures tightening PBM regulation 6/11/2018 9:05:01 PM Pennsylvania legislators introduce measures tightening PBM regulation Sun, 06/10/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Mon, 06/11/2018 - 21:05 Pennsylvania lawmakers have introduced separate bills addressing "gag orders" that prevent pharmacists from sharing full cost information with patients, as well as the prices that PBMs set for pharmacies versus what they collect from Medicaid. Rep. Judy Ward (R-Blair County) is sponsoring House Bill 2211, which would forbid PBMs from including "gag order" contract clauses. Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon County), meanwhile, on June 6 introduced a bill calling for more transparency in PBM pricing. Independent pharmacists complain that PBMs keep cutting their reimbursements—sometimes to levels below a pharmacy's costs to get the drugs—while also mandating how much the pharmacy can charge the customer. "We get take-it-or-leave-it contracts shoved down our throats," said one South Hills pharmacist who asked not to be identified because of his concern that a PBM would target his store with claim audits. "The public does not know what a PBM does and I'm not sure they even care. But what they do care about is having their medications priced fairly," said Patricia Epple, CEO of the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association. PBMs can tell a pharmacy how much the pharmacist can charge, Epple said, while also pressuring drug manufacturers "to give them more rebates, which they keep. They are not passing those along to the consumer." (Click for more...) Court rules family can sue Walgreens over woman's death after insurance denial 6/11/2018 9:05:01 PM Court rules family can sue Walgreens over woman's death after insurance denial Sun, 06/10/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Mon, 06/11/2018 - 21:05 The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on June 7 overturned a Superior Court decision and allowed a lawsuit against Walgreens by the family of a woman who died after failing to receive her medication to move forward. Yarushka Rivera had epilepsy and took a drug to manage her life-threatening seizures. After Rivera turned age 19 years, her insurer would not cover the cost of the drug without a doctor's pre-authorization for insurance coverage. While the family was unable to get the prescription filled, Walgreens said it would fax Rivera's doctor to request the pre-authorization form. The family never got the paper work or the medication, despite what they felt were promises from the pharmacy and despite the family's repeated calls to the doctor's office. Without her medicine, Rivera had three seizures and died in October 2009. In 2012 the family sued Walgreens, the doctor, and his group practice, alleging wrongful death. After a series of legal maneuvers, in the current case, Walgreens moved for summary judgment on the grounds that it had no legal obligation to contact the doctor. In March 2017, the Superior Court agreed with a lower court ruling and sided with Walgreens. However, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court wrote that Walgreens had a "limited duty to take reasonable steps to notify both Rivera and [her doctor] of the need for prior authorization each time Rivera tried to fill her prescription." (Click for more...) Federal judge enters consent decree against Delta Pharma 6/11/2018 9:05:01 PM Federal judge enters consent decree against Delta Pharma Sun, 06/10/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Mon, 06/11/2018 - 21:05 A U.S. district court judge has entered a consent decree of permanent injunction between the United States and Delta Pharma, of Ripley, MS, and two of the company's top officials. The complaint holds that despite Delta Pharma's promises to resolve deficiencies, the company continued to violate the law. Under the consent decree, Delta Pharma, company president Tommy T. Simpson, and Charles Michael Harrison, vice president and pharmacist-in-charge, are prohibited from manufacturing, processing, packing, holding, or distributing Delta Pharma's drugs until they comply with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and FDA's regulations. According to the complaint, Delta Pharma manufactured and distributed purportedly sterile drug products that were adulterated under the FD&C Act because they were made in insanitary conditions and in violation of current good manufacturing practice requirements. Additionally, the complaint claims that Delta Pharma manufactured and distributed unapproved new drugs and products that were misbranded because their labels did not include adequate directions for use. (Click for more...) ACA lawsuit could jeopardize 52 million Americans' access to health care 6/11/2018 9:05:01 PM ACA lawsuit could jeopardize 52 million Americans' access to health care Sun, 06/10/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Mon, 06/11/2018 - 21:05 The U.S. Department of Justice on June 7 filed a brief in a district court lawsuit arguing that the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) protections for people with preexisting conditions should be invalidated at the end of 2018. According to a 2016 analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, approximately 52 million Americans under the age of 65 years could find their access to health insurance at risk because of a wide range of preexisting conditions. Health insurers have for years been raising premiums, complaining about uncertainty and withdrawing from the business of selling individual insurance plans, and more changes could further destabilize the market. "It would be essentially a return to what the individual market looked like before the ACA, where insurers would require applicants to fill out long questionnaires about their medical histories, and make decisions based on people's health and how much to charge," said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. "Now we're in the situation where very sick people have gotten insurance, and so changing the rules means taking coverage away from people who genuinely need it." The court filing is a request to the judge, and will set off a long legal fight. (Click for more...) CDC reported influenza deaths in children exceeds seasonal high 6/11/2018 9:05:01 PM CDC reported influenza deaths in children exceeds seasonal high Sun, 06/10/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Mon, 06/11/2018 - 21:05 With the report of an additional pediatric influenza-relate death, CDC said Friday that the total number for the season was 172. This figure sets a record for the highest influenza-related deaths in children reported in a single influenza season, excluding pandemics. According to CDC, about 80% of the deaths were among children who had not been vaccinated against influenza. CDC noted, "These deaths are a somber reminder of the importance of flu vaccination and the potential seriousness of flu." The 2017–18 influenza season was described by CDC as "a high severity season, with influenza-like-illness remaining at or above baseline for 19 consecutive weeks, record-breaking flu hospitalization rates, and elevated pneumonia and influenza mortality for 16 weeks." (Click for more...) Drug shortages remain 'serious concern,' FDA deputy says 6/11/2018 9:05:01 PM Drug shortages remain 'serious concern,' FDA deputy says Sun, 06/10/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Mon, 06/11/2018 - 21:05 Lawmakers and FDA officials expressed concern about drug shortages at a recent House subcommittee hearing. "It's a serious concern not just in routine, everyday clinical care, but also in the context of a shortage of life-saving products at a time of a public health emergency," said Anna Abram, FDA's deputy commissioner for legislation and policy. An FDA database includes over 100 products that are in shortage, such as penicillin. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) told the House panel that health care providers are worried these drug shortages will hinder their ability to properly respond to a massive public health emergency. The hearing was the first step by the House to reauthorize programs under the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA), which develop and maintain medical countermeasures to respond to a major outbreak of a disease. These programs will expire September 30 without new legislation. Although the Senate health committee already approved its version of the bill, the House bill is still in draft form and has some sticking points. Specifically, there are concerns about a proposal to transfer management of the national stockpile of countermeasures from CDC to the assistant secretary of preparedness and response within HHS. (Click for more...) Opioids linked to 1 in 5 deaths among young adults 6/11/2018 9:05:01 PM Opioids linked to 1 in 5 deaths among young adults Sun, 06/10/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Mon, 06/11/2018 - 21:05 A study published in JAMA Network Open reveals that opioids were involved in one out of every 65 deaths nationwide in 2016. Researchers used data from CDC's Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research database, which tracks U.S. mortality data and causes of death. Researchers isolated the 335,123 opioid-related deaths recorded between 2001 and 2016 and categorized the deaths according to age groups and years. Opioids were involved in 28,496 deaths in 2016, of which more than 8,400 were among adults between the ages of 25 and 34 years. This means that about 20% of all deaths in this age group in 2016 involved opioids. Among individuals aged 15–24 years, the report found the nearly 3,000 opioid-related deaths recorded in 2016 accounted for 12.4% of deaths in the group. Among adults aged 35–44 years, the report identified about 6,700 opioid-related deaths, compared with more than 5,600 among adults aged 45–54 years; more than 3,800 among adults aged 55–64 years; and roughly 800 among adults aged 65 years and older. The study said opioids were involved in 1.5% of all deaths in 2016, and the authors concluded that "tailored programs and policies" are needed. (Click for more...) Opioid prescription rates surprisingly high following C-sections 6/11/2018 9:05:01 PM Opioid prescription rates surprisingly high following C-sections Sun, 06/10/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Mon, 06/11/2018 - 21:05 After analyzing 3 months of records at their facility, researchers at Duke University Medical Center report that cesarean section is one the top surgical procedures for excess prescription of postoperative opioids. The team discovered that 56% of patients undergoing joint arthroplasty and 42% of patients undergoing spinal fusion were opioid-naive when admitted to the hospital but opioid-tolerant when discharged, meaning they were taking more than 60 mg of oral morphine equivalents a day. Surgical child deliveries were also included among the top three procedures, with about one-half of these women taking no opioids upon hospitalization but taking more than 60 mg upon discharge. "The amount of opioids that C-section patients are being discharged with is quite remarkable, and it shows how exposure to opioids can be a driving factor in patients becoming addicted," says Neil Ray, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology. "The next step is seeing exactly how much of these drugs patients are actually using. Many of them are actually only using a couple of pills after being discharged. So they don't need to be given 120 pills; they can be discharged with maybe just 5 or 10." (Click for more...) Health giants say safe drug disposal kiosks can combat opioid abuse in Oregon 6/11/2018 9:05:01 PM Health giants say safe drug disposal kiosks can combat opioid abuse in Oregon Sun, 06/10/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Mon, 06/11/2018 - 21:05 Consumers in Oregon can safely dispose of unwanted or unused prescriptions at no cost through a Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon and Walgreens partnership. The medication disposal kiosks, which are meant to prevent unused opioids from being misused, are located at nine Walgreens locations throughout the state. The expansion is a joint effort by AmerisourceBergen, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Pfizer, Prime Therapeutics, and Walgreens to increase safe medication disposal sites to an additional 900 Walgreens pharmacies across the country. When the expansion is complete, drug disposal kiosks will be available in about 1,500 Walgreens locations nationwide. (Click for more...) Express Scripts simplifies pharmacy experience 6/11/2018 9:05:01 PM Express Scripts simplifies pharmacy experience Sun, 06/10/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Mon, 06/11/2018 - 21:05 New programs from Express Scripts aim to simplify the pharmacy experience by improving connectivity and easing the administrative burden for physicians and their staff. Digital solutions, such as electronic prior authorizations (ePA), clinical direct messaging, and real-time prescription benefit information improve connectivity and reduce costs for both members and plans. For example, using ePA is 11 times faster than traditional prior authorization processes, with decisions returned to prescribers in less than 2 minutes. Meanwhile, prescribers who use Express Scripts' digital solutions say the removal of old, administrative hurdles, such as faxing and calling, has improved their experience. "New digital platforms provide us—and the patient—with drug pricing transparency and real-time plan information in the exam room, simplifying the experience for the entire care continuum," said Alan Braverman, MD, professor of medicine, Washington University and member of the Express Scripts Medical Advisory Board. "These tools and enhancements clearly have a physician's workflow in mind, and are helping our patients get to the right medication for them at the right price." (Click for more...) White House launches anti-opioid ad campaign aimed at youth 6/11/2018 9:05:01 PM White House launches anti-opioid ad campaign aimed at youth Sun, 06/10/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Mon, 06/11/2018 - 21:05 The White House recently launched a series of advertisements that warn young people about the risks of opioids. The ad campaign features the true stories of young people who have dealt with addiction. "Our goal is to show young Americans the dangers of misusing opioids and how quickly one can become addicted to opioids—as short as 5 days—also the extreme lengths to which one can go to feed this addiction," said White House counselor Kellyanne Conway. The ads—to be aired on digital and social media platforms and on television—will show graphic, real-life examples of how young people furthered their addictions, such as self-inflicting a broken arm in order to obtain access to analgesics. According to CDC, drug overdose deaths involving opioids increased to about 46,000 for the 12-month period that ended in October 2017, which is about a 15% increase from October 2016. (Click for more...) New CDC guide outlines National Diabetes Prevention Program for pharmacies 6/11/2018 12:42:19 PM New CDC guide outlines National Diabetes Prevention Program for pharmacies Mon, 06/11/2018 - 12:47 ehaberkorn@aph… Mon, 06/11/2018 - 12:42 Getting involved in diabetes prevention just became easier for community pharmacists and pharmacy staff. (Click for more...) Student pharmacist commits to bone marrow donation 6/11/2018 10:03:12 AM Student pharmacist commits to bone marrow donation Mon, 06/11/2018 - 10:07 ehaberkorn@aph… Mon, 06/11/2018 - 10:03 Emily Wilson always knew she wanted to serve people. That’s why she chose to become a pharmacist. But she was launched to hero status when she became a bone marrow donor this past March. (Click for more...) Mosquito and tickborne illnesses in United States have tripled, says CDC 6/11/2018 9:28:34 AM Mosquito and tickborne illnesses in United States have tripled, says CDC Mon, 06/11/2018 - 09:30 ehaberkorn@aph… Mon, 06/11/2018 - 09:28 The latest Vital Signs report from CDC should give pause to anyone who hasn’t thought about protecting themselves and their loved ones from mosquito, tick, and flea bit (Click for more...) Amid osteoporosis treatment crisis, experts suggest addressing patients' bisphosphonate concerns 6/8/2018 6:05:01 PM Amid osteoporosis treatment crisis, experts suggest addressing patients' bisphosphonate concerns Thu, 06/07/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:05 Bisphosphonate drugs effectively slash the risk of hip and spine fractures due to osteoporosis; however, in a small population of patients, they may actually cause debilitating injuries. Rather than occurring as the result of falls or other trauma, atypical femur fractures can strike an older adult who is doing something as simple as walking or even standing still. Although even more rare than atypical femur fractures, osteonecrosis of the jaw can also affect people taking bisphosphonates. The threat of snapped femurs and crumbling jaws, and the long road to recovery, is enough to deter some patients—no matter how low the risk—from taking bisphosphonates. NIH data reveal a more than 50% drop in oral bisphosphonate use from 2008–12 in women aged 55 years and older. However, research suggests that failing to use the drugs to treat osteoporosis can produce poor outcomes, too. By some estimates, treating 1,000 women with bisphosphonates for 3 years might result in 1.25 atypical femur fractures but might avert roughly 100 osteoporotic fractures. With many older women not receiving necessary treatment—and risking a future of physical impairment or early death—specialists are seeking the best way to address concerns about bisphosphonates. It may help to educate patients, for instance, that the drugs are prescribed only for those at high risk for fractures—which eliminates much of the previous overtreatment—and that they are no longer prescribed for an indefinite period. In fact, the American Society for Bone Mineral Research suggests considering drug holidays for patients who have taken bisphosphonates for 3–5 years. Other approaches include monitoring bisphosphonate users, taking action based on patient reports of thigh or groin pain, and results from dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry machines that test bone mineral density. (Click for more...) Lawmakers have sights on middlemen blamed for rising drug costs 6/8/2018 6:05:01 PM Lawmakers have sights on middlemen blamed for rising drug costs Thu, 06/07/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:05 Congressional lawmakers are moving to ban "gag clauses" that prohibit pharmacies from telling customers they can save money on a drug if they pay with cash instead of using their health insurance. "Pharmacists want to be able to give their consumers information about what's the best way to buy the medication they need, but the gag rule prohibits the pharmacists from doing that," said Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), cosponsor of a House bill that would ban gag clauses. "Prohibiting PBM 'gag clauses' will empower pharmacists to inform patients of lower prescription price options and help improve price transparency. Our members always want to assist their patients in receiving the affordable medications they need," APhA said in a statement. Bipartisan bills in the House and Senate, sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA), would ban such clauses. The Collins bill is expected to come up for a committee vote on June 20. A spokesperson for Carter said the congressman is still continuing to push for a hearing and building member support. (Click for more...) Pressure mounts on drug makers to make contraception OTC 6/8/2018 6:05:01 PM Pressure mounts on drug makers to make contraception OTC Thu, 06/07/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:05 Delegates at the American Medical Association's annual meeting in Chicago will vote on a resolution to encourage contraceptive makers to submit applications to FDA to switch the status of their products from prescription to OTC. "This isn't just a contraception issue. This is a women's health issue," said Katherine Tynus, MD, who introduced the resolution and works as an internal medicine physician at Northwestern Medical Group in Chicago. More than 100 nations already offer contraception OTC—but the United States does not, aside from the emergency contraceptive often known by the brand name Plan B. Experts who support OTC contraception say it will lower the rate of unplanned pregnancies in the United States, where an estimated 45% of pregnancies are unplanned. Up until now, the drug industry has steered clear of asking FDA to move contraceptives OTC. (Click for more...) New Hampshire adopts retail tech to prevent illegal sales of PSE 6/8/2018 6:05:01 PM New Hampshire adopts retail tech to prevent illegal sales of PSE Thu, 06/07/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:05 Legislation signed by Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire on Thursday makes the state the 35th to adopt the real-time, stop-sale National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) technology. The system is used by retailers nationwide to help prevent the illegal sale of pseudoephedrine (PSE). The NPLEx technology helps to prevent purchases by potential meth criminals while also protecting access to safe and effective medications for law-abiding consumers. "We are committed to continue reducing the local methamphetamine production problem using solutions that are proven to work," said New Hampshire State Sen. Sharon Carson. "The adoption of NPLEx here in New Hampshire shows our commitment, and it gives law enforcement and pharmacists—those serving on the front line—new tools and resources to help curb meth production in our state, while also protecting law-abiding citizens' access to the medicines they need." According to a recent report from the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators, NPLEx blocked the illegal sale of 226,670 boxes of medicine containing PSE in the first 3 months of 2018. (Click for more...) Senate panel considers bill aimed at getting generic drugs to market faster 6/8/2018 6:05:01 PM Senate panel considers bill aimed at getting generic drugs to market faster Thu, 06/07/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:05 The Senate Judiciary Committee discussed the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples Act on June 7. The legislation is designed to get generic drugs to market faster by preventing brand drug companies from using the regulatory process known as risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMS) to keep drug samples from generic companies. Generally, a generic company needs about 5,000 doses to run all trials and gain and FDA approval. The legislation was introduced in October 2017 but has been in limbo because of strong opposition from the pharmaceutical industry. However, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, says opposition to the bill will disappear if legislators will lighten up on changes to how Medicare charges are calculated. His committee is already talking to the House Energy and Commerce Committee to shape legislation that might move more smoothly. (Click for more...) Youth tobacco use drops during 2011-17 6/8/2018 6:05:01 PM Youth tobacco use drops during 2011-17 Thu, 06/07/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:05 A new CDC and FDA survey reveals that the number of U.S. middle and high school students who are using tobacco products has declined, but the number is still too high. The 2017 National Youth Tobacco Survey found that 3.6 million middle and high school students reported being current tobacco product users (having used a tobacco product in the past 30 days) last year, down from about 4.5 million in 2011. The survey found that nearly 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 18 middle school students reported current use of any tobacco product last year, vs. nearly 1 in 4 high school students and 1 in 13 middle school students in 2011. Of the 3.6 million tobacco product users last year, 2.1 million reported using e-cigarettes. The survey also noted that about 47% of high school students and 42% of middle school students said they used two or more tobacco products. "Despite promising declines in tobacco use, far too many young people continue to use tobacco products, including e-cigarettes," said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD. "Comprehensive, sustained strategies can help prevent and reduce tobacco use and protect our nation's youth from this preventable health risk." In addition to regulating the manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products, proven population-based strategies can help to lower youth tobacco use and initiation. Such strategies include increasing the prices of tobacco products, protecting people from exposure to secondhand smoke and e-cigarette aerosol, sustaining hard-hitting media campaigns that warn about the risks of tobacco product use, and restricting youth access to tobacco products. (Click for more...) Update: CDC recommendations for managing and reporting Shigella infections with possible reduced susceptibility to ciprofloxacin 6/8/2018 6:05:01 PM Update: CDC recommendations for managing and reporting Shigella infections with possible reduced susceptibility to ciprofloxacin Thu, 06/07/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:05 CDC has issued a Health Alert Network Update with recommendations for the management and reporting of Shigella infections that have been treated with ciprofloxacin or azithromycin and had possible clinical treatment failure. The agency reports that it is continuing to see a growing number of Shigella isolates that test within the susceptibility range for ciprofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, but harbor at least one resistance mechanism. CDC said it "remains concerned about potential clinical failures with fluoroquinolone treatment." Patients with Shigella infections who require fluoroquinolones should be carefully monitored, and any possible treatment failures should be reported. In addition, CDC reports it has seen an increasing number of Shigella isolates with azithromycin minimum inhibitory concentrations that exceed the epidemiological cutoff value. Any possible treatment failures among patients with Shigella infections treated with azithromycin should be reported. This report is a followup to a https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00401.asp target="_blank">health advisory issued in April 2017. (Click for more...) Suicide rates rising across the U.S. 6/8/2018 6:05:01 PM Suicide rates rising across the U.S. Thu, 06/07/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:05 An examination of state-level trends in suicide shows that suicide rates have been increasing in most states. The CDC Vital Signs https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6722a1.htm?s_cid=mm6722a1_w&qu…; target="_blank">report, which looked at suicide rates from 1999–2016, found that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death. Nearly 45,000 Americans aged 10 years or older died by suicide in 2016. In 2014–2016, suicide rates ranged from 6.9 per 100,000 per year in Washington, DC, to 29.2 per 100,000 residents in Montana. More than 50% of people who died by suicide did not have a known diagnosed mental health issue at the time of death, researchers said. Factors that often contributed to risk of suicide included relationship problems or loss; substance misuse; physical health problems; and work, financial, legal, or housing stress. According to the report, states should take a comprehensive public health approach to suicide prevention and address the various factors contributing to suicide, which will require coordination and cooperation from every sector. (Click for more...) Rivaroxaban for stroke prevention after embolic stroke of undetermined source 6/8/2018 6:05:01 PM Rivaroxaban for stroke prevention after embolic stroke of undetermined source Thu, 06/07/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:05 The NAVIGATE ESUS clinical trial was designed to evaluate rivaroxaban for the prevention of recurrent stroke in patients who have suffered embolic stroke of undetermined source. The multinational sample population included about 7,200 participants whose ischemic stroke was without arterial stenosis, lacune, or an identified cardioembolic source. After randomization, 3,609 participants received oral rivaroxaban and 3,604 received aspirin. The primary efficacy endpoint was first recurrence of ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke or systemic embolism, which affected 5.1% of the rivaroxaban group and 4.8% of the aspirin group. Recurrent ischemic stroke occurred at about the same rate in both cohorts. The main safety outcome, meanwhile, was incidence of major bleeding—which occurred in 1.8% of patients taking rivaroxaban and 0.7% of aspirin-takers. Based on the Phase III study findings, which demonstrate that rivaroxaban is no better than aspirin in preventing recurrent stroke and is correlated with a higher risk of bleeding, researchers halted the trial early. (Click for more...) Road to recovery: Treating drug addiction with drugs 6/8/2018 6:05:01 PM Road to recovery: Treating drug addiction with drugs Thu, 06/07/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:05 Addiction specialists say there are many productive citizens who secretly take drugs to treat drug addiction, yet these people largely keep quiet amid widespread unease with the notion. Extensive research shows that people addicted to opioids who take properly prescribed buprenorphine or methadone are much less likely to relapse and overdose than those who try to recover without medications. Despite that, only about one-third of people in addiction treatment take medications, according to a national estimate. Regulations that restrict access are part of the problem. Doctors must go through 8 hours of training before they can prescribe buprenorphine, and those who do take the course are legally limited in how many patients they can treat. Other people question the singular focus on a pharmaceutical fix, noting that methadone and buprenorphine create physical dependence and patients have trouble getting off the drugs. It is a challenge, say addiction specialists, who note that many treatment centers and recovery homes continue to discourage their clients from taking medication. Still, prescriptions for buprenorphine are on the rise. The Urban Institute found that medication-assisted treatment provided to Medicaid patients increased 19% from 2011 to 2017, while some states, such as Massachusetts, have made increasing access to anti-addiction medications a priority. (Click for more...) Under pressure to tighten supply chain, drug companies look to blockchain 6/8/2018 6:05:01 PM Under pressure to tighten supply chain, drug companies look to blockchain Thu, 06/07/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:05 Drug companies are increasingly experimenting with promising but unproven blockchain technologies as they work to tighten the pharmaceutical supply chain. AmerisourceBergen and Merck plan to expand a test project completed last year that tracked the ownership of drugs moving through the health care supply chain. The new test will increase the number of drugs and perform more complex transactions, says Dale Danilewitz, chief information officer at Amerisource. The drug distributor wants to streamline the verification of drugs that a retailer or hospital returns to the company, according to Danilewitz. Some returns can be resold if their history can be verified. "Blockchain is such a natural fit for that kind of capability," Danilewitz notes. The pharmaceutical industry is facing increased pressure to meet new regulations that go into effect starting in 2019. The Drug Supply Chain Security Act calls for an electronic system to track and trace certain prescription drugs in the United States as they move from manufacturers to distributors, health-care providers, retailers and patients. Blockchain looks promising to drug companies as a neutral ground to share data that would help them comply with the regulations. The idea is that by uploading data onto a blockchain, participants can track the products as they are bought, sold, or otherwise moved between manufacturers, distributors, doctors, and pharmacies. (Click for more...) New mobile health program offers pharmacy access through a kiosk 6/8/2018 6:05:01 PM New mobile health program offers pharmacy access through a kiosk Thu, 06/07/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Fri, 06/08/2018 - 18:05 A mobile health program developed by MedAvail and being tested in Arizona will use kiosks to connect consumers to pharmacy services, including video access to a pharmacist. Six kiosks called MedCenters have been deployed in such public locations as pharmacies and clinics in Phoenix and Tucson through a partnership with Express Scripts. The kiosks offer users round-the-clock access to an online pharmacy. "This technology also could help community pharmacists increase their community presence and the efficiency of their operations, relieve congestion at retail pharmacy counters, extend a pharmacy’s hours of operation, and allow pharmacists to focus on their important role in providing clinical care to patients," says Glen Stettin, MD, chief innovation officer at Express Scripts. Consumers can use the kiosks to get prescriptions filled in just 90 seconds for certain chronic, acute, and OTC medications. They can also talk privately with a multilingual pharmacist. "Licensed pharmacists perform the professional functions associated with prescription dispensing, including review of medical history, allergy, potential interaction with other drugs being taken, and patient counseling, so safety concerns can be addressed prior to picking up the prescription," says Stettin. (Click for more...) Clinical implications of revised pooled cohort equations for estimating atherosclerotic CVD risk 6/7/2018 5:05:01 PM Clinical implications of revised pooled cohort equations for estimating atherosclerotic CVD risk Wed, 06/06/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Thu, 06/07/2018 - 17:05 Collaborators from several universities worked together to modernize the 2013 pooled cohort equations (PCEs) that help inform prevention guidelines for cardiovascular disease (CVD). The existing PCEs overstated risk of stroke, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or death from coronary heart disease by about 20%, with African Americans especially affected. To improve the clinical accuracy of these risk projections, the investigators coupled more recent data—from six cohorts including an aggregate 26,700 adults with no history of CVD—with newer statistical approaches. Under the revised PCEs, they report, the population of people previously categorized as high risk would be cut by roughly 11.8 million. The research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, also suggests that risk equations will become outdated over time and will need to be updated on a regular basis. (Click for more...) Atezolizumab for first-line treatment of metastatic nonsquamous NSCLC 6/7/2018 5:05:01 PM Atezolizumab for first-line treatment of metastatic nonsquamous NSCLC Wed, 06/06/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Thu, 06/07/2018 - 17:05 Researchers hypothesized that pairing atezolizumab with bevacizumab would amplify the cancer-cell-killing effect of atezolizumab in patients with metastatic nonsquamous non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The theory underpinning the Phase III study was that bevacizumab, by blocking immunosuppression triggered by vascular endothelial growth factor, would allow atezolizumab to work harder and the immunotherapy to be more effective. Participants in the open-label IMpower150 trial, who had not previously undergone chemotherapy, were randomized to atezolizumab plus carboplatin plus paclitaxel, bevacizumab plus carboplatin plus paclitaxel (BCP), or atezolizumab plus BCP. The results indicated that the combination therapy of atezolizumab and bevacizumab, coupled with chemotherapy, significantly prolonged progression-free survival and overall survival in NSCLC patients—including those with EGFR or ALK genetic alterations. Moreover, the intervention's safety profile was consistent with the known risks of the medications taken alone. (Click for more...) Some suburban Jewel-Osco pharmacies are offering patients genetic testing 6/7/2018 5:05:01 PM Some suburban Jewel-Osco pharmacies are offering patients genetic testing Wed, 06/06/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Thu, 06/07/2018 - 17:05 A growing number of pharmacists are helping patients find the medicines that suit their particular genetic makeups best. Albertsons Cos. said recently that some of its pharmacies, including five Jewel-Oscos in the Chicago area, would offer genetic testing. The tests, made by Genomind, aim to help patients find the most effective medications to treat mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Kimberly Hecht, Albertsons' patient care services coordinator, notes that the tests will not be appropriate for everyone; however, pharmacists may offer them to individuals with new mental health issues or to patients who appear to be struggling with medications. In addition, Hecht said, patients may request the tests. The genetic test costs $750 before insurance, but Genomind notes there is wide variation in insurance coverage for it. Albertsons is among the first large pharmacy chains to offer the testing, but a number of Illinois pharmacies have been providing such testing for a few years. According to Garth Reynolds, executive director of the Illinois Pharmacists Association, somewhere under 50 pharmacies in the state offer similar services. The tests are also available through some doctors and hospital systems. (Click for more...) CVS announces plan to bring two dozen prescription drug drop off locations to Georgia 6/7/2018 5:05:01 PM CVS announces plan to bring two dozen prescription drug drop off locations to Georgia Wed, 06/06/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Thu, 06/07/2018 - 17:05 CVS Health announced Wednesday that it is installing safe medication disposal units at two dozen CVS stores in Georgia. Speaking at a joint news conference with state Attorney General Chris Carr, the company said it plans to install the units at 750 locations across the United States. Carr said, "We have to continue to forge innovative partnerships to strengthen our response to the opioid crisis, and CVS Health's new initiative in Georgia is a great example of that type of collaboration. They want to make it easier than ever before to safely dispose of any unused, expired prescription drugs, getting them out of the hands of those who might otherwise abuse them." Brian Bosnic, CVS's division vice president, added: "CVS Health is dedicated to addressing and preventing opioid abuse in the communities we serve here in Georgia and across the country. Expanding CVS Pharmacy's in-store safe medication disposal program is one of the many initiatives we support to fulfill that commitment and our purpose of helping people on their path to better health." The total number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Georgia rose 117% from 2010 to 2016, from 426 to 929 deaths. (Click for more...) VCU Health builds tool to streamline communication between inpatient units and its pharmacy at discharge 6/7/2018 5:05:01 PM VCU Health builds tool to streamline communication between inpatient units and its pharmacy at discharge Wed, 06/06/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Thu, 06/07/2018 - 17:05 Pharmacists at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Health System play a key role in the discharge process of patients, but they had limited information on which patients were likely to be sent home first. Clinicians often submitted requests simply marked "ASAP," even if many of those patients were actually hours from discharge. As a result, pharmacists were interrupted multiple times a day to fill prescriptions. Kelley Barry, senior clinical applications analyst at VCU Health, and her team built a new indicator for its patient tracking system for the discharge pharmacy. The tool allows pharmacists to better prioritize the prescriptions as they came in and also let clinicians on inpatient units monitor if a prescription is being filled or if there is a delay. In addition, the tool will provide details on causes of a delay, such as a copay or prior authorization issue. Over the last several months, VCU Health has seen an increase in discharges before noon, and patients are more informed about their timelines, says Barry. There has also been a decrease in units' calls to the discharge pharmacy, speeding up pharmacists' ability to fill prescriptions. Getting buy-in from pharmacists was essential, Barry adds. (Click for more...) Discount Drug Mart automates 6/7/2018 5:05:01 PM Discount Drug Mart automates Wed, 06/06/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Thu, 06/07/2018 - 17:05 Under a pharmacy automation agreement, McKesson High Volume Solutions (HVS) will provide Discount Drug Mart with a dispensing automation platform for a central fill pharmacy in Avon Lake, OH. Pete Ratycz, senior vice president of pharmacy at Discount Drug Mart, said automation will enable pharmacy staff to concentrate on customer service and providing patient care while promoting professional and clinical services, such as immunizations, medication adherence, and medication therapy management. "With central fill, Discount Drug Mart staff will be able to provide patients with multiple convenient prescription dispensing options, spend more time counseling patients on medication regimens and develop clinical programs that promote healthy outcomes," noted Ross MacMurray, vice president of strategic account sales for McKesson HVS. Discount Drug Mart opened its 73rd store in April and expects to open another one soon. (Click for more...) Walmart remodeling in-store pharmacies to include private consultation rooms 6/7/2018 5:05:01 PM Walmart remodeling in-store pharmacies to include private consultation rooms Wed, 06/06/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Thu, 06/07/2018 - 17:05 As part of an $11 billion remodeling project, Walmart will add private consultation rooms in hundreds of its store pharmacies. The majority of the store renovations will occur in Florida and Texas, where the company has allotted $477 million to remodel 82 stores and add 14 new stores. Walmart is also partnering with digital health company Sharecare to provide employees and community members with access to the Sharecare mobile health care app. Users can complete personalized health profiles using the app and track their health. Jacqui Canney, executive vice president and chief people officer at Walmart, says: "Partnering with Sharecare will provide our associates additional tools to inspire them on their wellness journey, help our programs continue to grow, and be a force for change in the communities we serve." (Click for more...) Pharmacy 'gag rules' under more scrutiny 6/7/2018 5:05:01 PM Pharmacy 'gag rules' under more scrutiny Wed, 06/06/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Thu, 06/07/2018 - 17:05 So-called gag rules bar pharmacists from telling patients when they could save by paying cash instead of using insurance. The rules are receiving new scrutiny after President Donald Trump singled them out for criticism in his plan for lowering drug prices. "This is a total rip-off and we are ending it," Trump said of the practice. The gag rules are included in contracts between pharmacies and PBMs. "When it comes down to making sure the patient can afford their medication, the gag clause prevents us from having that conversation so they can make the best informed decision," said Randy McDonough, an Iowa pharmacist. A 2016 industry survey found that nearly 20% of pharmacists were limited by gag clauses more than 50 times per month. Andy Soileau, a Louisiana pharmacist, recently testified before state lawmakers about the issue. He cited an example of a customer who was required to pay a $50 copay for generic birth control pills that would have cost $18 without insurance. In May, Louisiana became the latest of nearly 20 states to ban the restrictions. Stephen Schondelmeyer, who studies pharmaceutical economics at the University of Minnesota, said PBMs tell pharmacists: "If we catch you telling patients you can buy this cheaper for cash we will kick your pharmacy out of our network." (Click for more...) 340B cuts sting struggling hospitals, hurt credit ratings, S&P says 6/7/2018 5:05:01 PM 340B cuts sting struggling hospitals, hurt credit ratings, S&P says Wed, 06/06/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Thu, 06/07/2018 - 17:05 A recent report from Standard and Poor's Global Market Intelligence warns that significant cuts to the 340B Drug Pricing Program could severely weaken or impair the already-struggling nonprofit hospitals that relied on savings obtained from it. CMS has decreased the reimbursement rate for 340B medications paid under Medicare Part B to average sales price minus 22% from plus 6%, leading to a more than $1 billion cut. The report states, "They will serve fewer patients, which in turn would add to the burdens on some hospitals, because patients without options tend to seek treatment from hospital emergency rooms or clinics. Federally qualified health centers include public housing primary care clinics, homeless clinics, HIV clinics, and some cancer centers." Health systems and groups such as the Association of American Medical Colleges and America's Essential Hospitals have unsuccessfully sued the federal government to stop the cut's implementation. An appeal could be possible, however. A federal appellate court is weighing revisiting that decision because judges might examine whether HHS was within its own authority and whether the cuts were implemented properly, the report says. (Click for more...) Merging of the minds: CVS Health names post-merger leadership 6/7/2018 5:05:01 PM Merging of the minds: CVS Health names post-merger leadership Wed, 06/06/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Thu, 06/07/2018 - 17:05 CVS Health has named the executives who will lead the company's business units once its acquisition of Aetna is complete. Aetna will operate as a stand-alone business unit with CVS health, led by its current management, and CVS Health executives will play key roles in the combined company. CVS Health executive vice president and chief operating officer Jon Roberts will continue in his role, with oversight of CVS Pharmacy, CVS Caremark, and long-term care pharmacy Omnicare. Current Aetna president Karen Lynch will be executive vice president of CVS Health and president of the Aetna business unit. CVS Caremark's current executive vice president of specialty pharmacy, Alan Lotvin, will become executive vice president of transformation, tasked with overseeing the combined company's business transformation efforts. Troyen Brennan will retain his role as executive vice president and chief medical officer of CVS Health, overseeing clinical and medical affairs, as well as health care services. Aetna's executive vice president and head of enterprise strategy, Rick Jelinek, will be CVS Health executive vice president, co-leading the companies' integration efforts alongside Josh Flum, CVS Health executive vice president of enterprise strategy and corporate development. (Click for more...) Mifepristone pretreatment for early pregnancy loss 6/7/2018 5:05:01 PM Mifepristone pretreatment for early pregnancy loss Wed, 06/06/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Thu, 06/07/2018 - 17:05 The results of a new study show that pretreatment with mifepristone followed by treatment with misoprostol led to a greater likelihood of successful management of early pregnancy loss compared with only misoprostol treatment. Researchers randomized 300 women with an anembryonic gestation or in whom embryonic or fetal death was confirmed to receive pretreatment with mifepristone followed by misoprostol alone, or misoprostol only. The women returned 1–4 days after misoprostol use for evaluation, and those in whom the gestational sac was not expelled were offered expectant management, additional misoprostol, or uterine aspiration. In all, 83.8% of the women in the mifepristone-pretreatment group and 67.1% of women in the misoprostol-alone group had complete expulsion after one dose of misoprostol. Uterine aspiration was performed in 8.8% of the pretreatment group, compared with 23.5% of the misoprostol-alone group. The researchers note that 2.0% of women in the pretreatment group and 0.7% of those in the misoprostol-alone group experienced bleeding that resulted in blood transfusion. Additionally, 89.4% of women in the pretreatment group and 87.4% of those in the misoprostol-alone group said their overall experience was either "good" or "neutral," and most women in each group (69.1% and 64.8%, respectively) said they would use medical management if they experienced another pregnancy loss. (Click for more...) The 'Right to Try' law says yes, the drug company says no 6/7/2018 5:05:01 PM The 'Right to Try' law says yes, the drug company says no Wed, 06/06/2018 - 20:00 cbaker_admin Thu, 06/07/2018 - 17:05 Although the "Right to Try" bill was signed into law in late May to help patients with life-threatening conditions get faster access to investigational drugs by bypassing FDA's normal approval process, drug companies still have the final say on such requests. Arthur Caplan, head of medical ethics at NYU School of Medicine, established and oversees a program for making decisions about compassionate use for Johnson & Johnson. He says drug companies generally prefer the structure of FDA approval, even if they have more freedom to circumvent it now. "They think it protects them from manufacturing useless drugs or making things that might have dangerous side effects that would create a legal nightmare for them," he notes. Ron Cohen, president and CEO of Acorda Therapeutics and past chairman of BIO, a trade group representing the biotechnology industry, says only about 10% of drugs tested in humans make it to the marketplace. Supplying a drug for compassionate use requires companies to divert product meant for clinical trials, he says. Some companies do not have the resources to do that. (Click for more...) WVU researchers identify four factors that predict chronic opioid use 5/29/2018 12:00:00 AM Four factors increase the odds that a patient will wind up on chronic opioid therapy, suggests research conducted by a team of researchers led by Nilanjana Dwibedi, assistant professor in the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy. (Click for more...) School of Pharmacy announces changes to its leadership team 5/10/2018 12:00:00 AM The West Virginia University School of Pharmacy is pleased to announce changes to its leadership team. Dr. Paul Lockman has been appointed the position of senior associate dean for research and strategic initiatives in addition to Mylan Endowed Chair of Pharmacology, while Dr. Mary Stamatakis has been appointed to senior associate dean of academic affairs and educational innovation. (Click for more...) MEET OUR GRADS: Erin Barthelmess 5/3/2018 12:00:00 AM Why did you choose WVU? (Click for more...) MEET OUR GRADS: Jonathan Boyles 5/3/2018 12:00:00 AM Why did you choose pharmacy as a career? (Click for more...) WVU Benefits Open Enrollment continues through May 15; HSC session set for April 25 4/19/2018 12:00:00 AM WVU Benefits Administration is hosting a Benefits Information Table at the Health Sciences Center in HR, G211-B on Wednesday, April 25 from 1 to 3 p.m. (Click for more...) Dr. Suresh Madhavan to receive AACP's prestigious Dawson Award for Excellence in Patient Care Research 4/16/2018 12:00:00 AM The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) will recognize S. Suresh Madhavan, M.B.A., Ph.D., FAPhA professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Systems and Policy at the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy, for his innovative research addressing the profound health disparities in West Virginia. He will receive the Paul R. Dawson Award for Excellence in Patient Care Research on July 23 during the Science Plenary at Pharmacy Education 2018, the AACP Annual Meeting, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Click for more...) Ali Rezai appointed Rockefeller Chair in Neuroscience at WVU 4/9/2018 12:00:00 AM An investiture ceremony will be held on Monday at 4 p.m. in the Pylons Lobby of the WVU Health Sciences Center. (Click for more...) Alumna returns to campus as guest speaker for Louis A. Luzzi Lectureship Series 3/9/2018 12:00:00 AM Dr. Joanna Stollings, a 2003 graduate of the WVU School of Pharmacy, returned to campus March 9 as guest speaker for the Lois A. Luzzi Lectureship Series. (Click for more...) Science advocate, author to speak at WVU 3/7/2018 12:00:00 AM Paul A. Offit, M.D., a physician-scientist who is an expert in infectious diseases, immunology, virology and vaccine and the founding director of the Autism Science Foundation, will speak on "Scientific Misadventures: Learning from the Past," at noon, Friday, March 23 in the Patteson Auditorium at WVU's Health Sciences Center. (Click for more...) Health in West Virginia: The Next 150 Years 3/5/2018 12:00:00 AM West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee will join Health Sciences Vice President and Executive Dean Clay Marsh, M.D., and WVU Medicine-WVU Hospitals President and CEO Albert L. Wright Jr., at a Health Sciences Town Hall on Wed., March 28 at noon in Okey Patteson Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. (Click for more...) Schwinghammer retiring from WVU School of Pharmacy; Slain named new chair of clinical pharmacy 3/2/2018 12:00:00 AM Dr. Douglas Slain, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy, will be appointed the new chairperson of the School's clinical pharmacy department. Slain succeeds Dr. Terry Schwinghammer, who will retire this spring. (Click for more...) APhA annual meeting alumni reception 2/23/2018 12:00:00 AM The WVU School of Pharmacy will host an alumni reception at the 2018 APhA annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. (Click for more...) CDC to offer continuing education course on vaccine immunization in Morgantown 2/21/2018 12:00:00 AM The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is offering a continuing education course titled CDC Pink Book Training: Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine Preventable Diseases on April 10-11, 2018, at the Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Click for more...) WVU researcher wins national award; examines use of multiple medications among older cancer survivors 2/20/2018 12:00:00 AM Traci LeMasters, assistant professor in the School of Pharmacy, is a recipient of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy's New Investigator Award, which grants funding to early-career faculty to jumpstart independent research programs. She is one of only 16 people nationwide to receive the award this year. (Click for more...) WVU School of Pharmacy professor debunks common flu-related myths 2/14/2018 12:00:00 AM The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "FluView" map shows the virus is currently active in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. WVU School of Pharmacy professor Douglas Slain, specializing in infectious diseases, answers some frequently asked questions and dispels common myths. (Click for more...) WVU Festival of Ideas to host panel of six opioid crisis experts 2/12/2018 12:00:00 AM Six experts on the state's opioid crisis will take part in a panel discussion Feb. 20 in the Charleston Civic Center Little Theater as part of West Virginia University's Festival of Ideas. "Understanding the Opioid Epidemic" starts at 7:30 p.m., and is co-sponsored by The Charleston Gazette-Mail. (Click for more...) Lockman appointed assistant VP for Experimental Therapeutics 2/9/2018 12:00:00 AM Dr. Paul Lockman, Professor and Chair of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences in the School of Pharmacy, joined the Office of Research and Graduate Education as the Assistant Vice President for Experimental Therapeutics on January 1st in addition to his current roles. As a cross campus priority for collaboration, and an exciting area of focus at the HSC across diverse disciplines, Dr. Lockman brings the expertise and leadership to connect investigators and help develop new collaborations. (Click for more...) WVU groups to host body positivity event Feb. 19 2/9/2018 12:00:00 AM Groups and organizations across West Virginia University are collaborating to create a night of body acceptance for students. The WVU Collegiate Recovery Program, WELLWVU, Carruth Center, WVU Medicine Student Health and the WVU Women's Resource Center will host "Accepting EveryBODY" on February 19, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the WVU Recreation Center, Meeting Room A. (Click for more...) Nominations for Women in Science and Health Awards now open 2/8/2018 12:00:00 AM Sponsored by the Women in Science and Health (WISH) Committee, the Women in Science and Health Awards recognize outstanding achievements made by women working at West Virginia University Health Sciences. (Click for more...) Over-the-Counter Medication Donations Needed for Honduras 2/7/2018 12:00:00 AM Nurse Practitioner and DNP students from the WVU School of Nursing will provide primary care services in remote areas of Honduras in April. The team members pay their own way and bring all medications and supplies needed for the week. (Click for more...) WVU Rural Health Day 2018 2/1/2018 12:00:00 AM Registration is now open for the 3rd annual WVU Rural Health Day on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at the WVU Health Sciences Center in Morgantown. The purpose of WVU Rural Health Day is to give pre-health students interested in rural medicine the opportunity to hear about and participate in activities that will enhance, impassion, and provide support in the sometimes daunting path to applying to medical school. (Click for more...) SOP 'Dean's Hour' features lessons for success from 'The Wizard of Oz' 1/24/2018 12:00:00 AM Almost everyone has seen the 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz," but what they may not realize is that it contains valuable lessons that are useful to all of us as we seek success in our personal and professional lives. (Click for more...) WVU School of Pharmacy announces Dean's List for fall 2017 term. 1/23/2018 12:00:00 AM Congratulations to all of our students who made the Dean's List! To make the list, a student must achieve a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Each recipient gets a signed letter from School of Pharmacy Dean, Bill Petros. Below is a complete list. (Click for more...) WVU School of Pharmacy seeks Director of Experiential Learning 1/23/2018 12:00:00 AM The WVU School of Pharmacy is seeking a Director of Experiential Learning at the rank of assistant professor to manage the APPE/IPPE programs and the Office of Experiential Learning. Apply online at https://goo.gl/18PTuk. (Click for more...) NIH funds WVU research to make diabetes and hypertension management a community activity 1/8/2018 12:00:00 AM Managing diabetes and high blood pressure can feel like a solitary enterprise dependent on relationships with objects (like pills or foods) and activities (like brisk walks or early bedtimes) instead of relationships with people, but a group of West Virginia University researchers is hoping to change that. (Click for more...) Mindful Morsels: Mindful Eating- January 16, 2017, 11:00 am, John Jones C 1/5/2018 12:00:00 AM Mindful Morsels is back for 2018. Mindful Eating will be held January 16, 2017, at 11:00 am in John Jones C. (Click for more...) Cancer Institute to sponsor talk on LGBTQI patient care 1/2/2018 12:00:00 AM WVU Cancer Institute will sponsor a talk on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) patient care on January 9, 2018, from 12 to 1 p.m., in the Fukushima Auditorium. Mandi Pratt-Chapman, MA, associate center director, patient-centered initiatives and health equity for the George Washington Cancer Center, will present What You Should (and Want) to Know About Your LGBTQI Patients. Chapman's personal mission is to make evidence-based cancer control strategies available to more people as quickly as possible. (Click for more...) Pharmacy residency program ASHP accredited 1/1/2018 12:00:00 AM WVU Medicine Jefferson Medical Center's pharmacy residency program has been approved for accreditation by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). (Click for more...) Maynor named director of student affairs and academic initiatives 12/14/2017 12:00:00 AM Lena Maynor, PharmD, has been appointed director of student affairs and academic initiatives for the Health Sciences Center at West Virginia University. (Click for more...) Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy alumni are WVU 2017 Homecoming Award recipients 10/4/2017 12:00:00 AM Three School of Medicine alumni and a School of Pharmacy graduate are being recognized by the WVU Alumni Association as 2017 Homecoming Award recipients. (Click for more...) Discussion leaders named for Post-Charlottesville Town Hall 9/19/2017 12:00:00 AM Seven volunteer discussion leaders will take part in the Health Sciences-WVU Medicine Town Hall this Wednesday (Sept. 20) at noon in the Patteson Auditorium at WVU. (Click for more...) WVU, WV attorney general expand eighth grade drug prevention program 9/12/2017 12:00:00 AM West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and West Virginia University have partnered to expand a program aimed at sharing drug abuse prevention information with eighth grade students in West Virginia. The initiative, launched in March with the West Virginia University School of Nursing, now also involves West Virginia University's School of Pharmacy and two other universities. (Click for more...) Student and faculty international travel grants available 9/1/2017 12:00:00 AM In honor of the legacy of a long-time staff member in WVU's Global Health Program, the Global Engagement Office (GEO) at Health Sciences is pleased to announce that the application period for the Nancy Sanders Memorial Student Travel Grant and the Nancy Sanders Memorial Faculty Research Abroad Grant is now open. (Click for more...) WVU health care simulation week kicks off Sept. 12 8/30/2017 12:00:00 AM September 12 kicks off national Health Care Simulation Week, and the WV STEPS Center welcomes visitors to a series of events highlighting simulation education. (Click for more...) WVU in the News - Study aims to increase effectiveness of opioid addiction treatment 8/15/2017 12:00:00 AM A new study being conducted at WVU is aimed at increasing the effectiveness of addiction treatment. As many as 20 percent of people addicted to opioids will not respond to the standard treatment of suboxone. Genetic background is one of several factors WVU and the West Virginia Clinical and Translation Science Institute will study to provide better more patient-specific addiction treatment. Get the full story on WV Always. (Click for more...) West Virginia health research gets $55 million boost 8/1/2017 12:00:00 AM MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Recommitting themselves to bring the benefits of research out of labs and hospitals and into the lives of West Virginia people and communities, a coalition of federal agencies, universities, hospitals and clinics will develop dozens of efforts over the next five years to battle addiction and cancer and reduce the impact of cardiovascular and neurological diseases. (Click for more...) Academy of Excellence in Teaching and Learning applications being accepted 7/20/2017 12:00:00 AM The WVU Health Sciences Faculty Development Program is now accepting applications, CVs and biographies for the 2017 Academy of Excellence in Teaching and Learning. (Click for more...) WVCTSI and WVU research aims to increase addiction treatment effectiveness 7/13/2017 12:00:00 AM MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Up to 20 percent of people with opioid use disorder may not respond to standard treatment. A new study at West Virginia University seeks to understand why. (Click for more...) Madhavan named to Fulbright Specialist Roster 7/10/2017 12:00:00 AM The U.S. State Department has added S. Suresh Madhavan, Ph.D., of the WVU School of Pharmacy to Fulbright Specialist Roster for the next three years. (Click for more...) Leukemia Research Foundation supports cancer research at WVU 7/5/2017 12:00:00 AM The Leukemia Research Foundation has awarded $100,000 to Wei Du, M.D., Ph.D., of the West Virginia University Cancer Institute to investigate a method for increasing the effectiveness of stem cell transplantation. (Click for more...) Town Hall to focus on heart care and research Thursday, June 15 6/6/2017 12:00:00 AM Two WVU Medicine heart specialists will be the special guests at an open forum for Health Sciences and WVU Medicine faculty, staff, and students at noon on Thursday, June 15, in the Okey Patteson Auditorium in the Health Sciences Center. (Click for more...) Meet the Graduates: Lindsey Glotfelty 5/16/2017 12:00:00 AM When asked what she wanted people to know about her, Lindsey Glotfelty of Finzel, Maryland, stated it's not really what she wants people to know about her, but rather the messages she wants them to get. She has four lessons that she has learned in her life, and they are the principles by which she lives. (Click for more...) ASK WVU MEDICINE: Breast to Brain Cancer - Risks and Research 5/15/2017 12:00:00 AM Join Hannah Hazard-Jenkins, M.D. and Paul Lockman, Ph.D., doctors who are dedicating their efforts to research and treatment of breast cancer, at the next Ask WVU Medicine Community Conversation, Tuesday, May 23 at 6 p.m. in the WVU Health Sciences Center Fukushima Auditorium. (Click for more...) WVU School of Pharmacy's Suresh Madhavan recipient of Distinguished Pharmacy Alumni Award from Purdue University 5/9/2017 12:00:00 AM S. Suresh Madhavan, MBA, Ph.D., was the recipient of Purdue University College of Pharmacy's 2017 Distinguished Pharmacy Alumni Award. Dr. Madhavan was one of four Purdue alumni who received this award, which recognizes the recipient's outstanding achievements in professional and scientific endeavors. (Click for more...) Cancer researcher is first alum to lead WVU School of Pharmacy 4/26/2017 12:00:00 AM William (Bill) Petros, PharmD, FCCP, has been appointed to the position. (Click for more...) WVU recognizes Health Sciences staff and faculty 4/10/2017 12:00:00 AM West Virginia University honored 13 individuals and two teams at the Health Sciences Center for outstanding achievement on Wednesday, April 12 at 4 p.m. in the Pylons Lobby. (Click for more...) Frank Alderman, MD, to speak at WVU College of Business and Economics Distinguished Speaker Series 4/3/2017 12:00:00 AM Frank Alderman, MD, CEO of MedExpress and a graduate of the WVU Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, will speak at the WVU College of Business and Economics's Distinguished Speaker Series on April 19 at 3:30 p.m. at the Morgantown Event Center. (Click for more...) WVU and WVCTSI fund two addiction projects 3/29/2017 12:00:00 AM MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University (WVU) Addiction Task Force and West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute (WVCTSI) have funded two new research projects to combat the opioid epidemic in the state. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, West Virginia continues to be devastated by this epidemic, having the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation. (Click for more...) Vera Bradley Bingo Relay for Life fundraiser 3/28/2017 12:00:00 AM The West Virginia University School of Pharmacy Relay for Life Team and the Lambda Kappa Sigma student organization will be hosting a Vera Bradley Bingo at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 2, in room 1909 at the WVU Health Sciences Center in Morgantown. Doors open at noon. (Click for more...) WVU health professions students provide information on fall risk prevention 3/24/2017 12:00:00 AM Students from the West Virginia University School of Pharmacy and School of Medicine Division of Physical Therapy visited Sundale Rehabilitation – Long Term Care on March 22 to discuss fall risk prevention. (Click for more...)
 
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