PHARMACY

Adjunct therapy increases cervical cancer survival, data concludes

BY Alaric DeArment

ORLANDO Clinical data presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s 45th annual meeting Sunday showed that adding an Eli Lilly & Co. drug to the standard therapy increases progression-free survival for women with locally advanced cervical cancer.

Lilly presented data from a 515-patient phase 3 clinical trial at the meeting showing that adding the injected drug Gemzar (gemcitabine hydrochloride) to the chemotherapy cisplatin and radiation therapy caused a statistically significant increase in progression-free survival in women with the disease, the second most common cause of cancer death in women.

“While there have been tremendous advances in cervical cancer prevention in the form of early screening and vaccination, oncologists have essentially been using the same treatment standard for the last decade,” lead study author Alfonso Duenas-Gonzalez of Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Cancerologia e Instituto de Investigaciones Biomedicas.

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NCPA survey: Accreditation requirements hinders pharmacists from offering DME equipment

BY Drug Store News Team

NEW YORK Almost one-third of those community pharmacists who already offered DMEPOS services responded that they would cease delivering Medicare services if Congress doesn’t act soon.

 

That should be a wake-up call for Congress.

 

 

The reality is the number of community pharmacies that would no longer supply products like diabetes test strips to their Medicare patients is a lot closer to 90% of all community pharmacies, or approximately 20,000 pharmacies, more or less, given that only one in 10 are currently accredited under Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services guidelines, the fact that the accreditation deadline is only five months away and it takes on average more than six months to become accredited.

 

 

To be sure, the survey is a sample of about 1,000 self-reporting pharmacists and there may be a good number of community pharmacists currently pursuing accreditation not included in the 10%, but the bare fact remains that the vast majority of community pharmacies aren’t accredited and will decline to become accredited come Oct. 1.

 

 

What does it all mean? To quote Bruce Roberts, NCPA EVP & CEO, it means “the current policy could prevent patients, especially in underserved areas [such as rural communities], from accessing medical supplies that help navigate health challenges such as controlling diabetes.”

 

 

Approximately 17.9% of all Medicare households are located in rural communities, according to a Kaiser Foundation report released in February, which means that almost one in five of all Medicare recipients may have greater difficulty accessing their testing supplies.

 

 

And that should be a bigger wake-up call for Congress, as well as their Medicare-eligible constituents.

 

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NCPA survey: Accreditation requirements hinder pharmacists from offering DME

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. A survey of National Community Pharmacists Association members found that almost one-third (31%) of independent pharmacist-owners in the DMEPOS business would cease offering durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies to their Medicare patients if new accreditation mandates take effect on Oct. 1.

That includes diabetes supplies.

“Pharmacists have been unfairly singled out for this accreditation rule, but patients will be the ones who truly lose out if this isn’t changed,” stated Bruce Roberts, NCPA EVP and CEO. “These findings illustrate that the current policy could prevent patients, especially in underserved areas, from accessing medical supplies that help navigate health challenges, such as controlling diabetes. We hope Congress will act swiftly with the accreditation deadline fast approaching.”

For those independents currently not in the DMEPOS business, mandated accreditation would significantly deter 67% of those respondents from participating in the future.

Currently, only 1-in-10 community pharmacies currently providing DMEPOS have become accredited. The accreditation fees, training and implementation costs are projected to total at least $5,000 to $7,000, over three years, which is cost prohibitive for many pharmacists.

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