PHARMACY

APhA, Cardinal Health Foundation name second annual APhA GenerationRx Award of Excellence recipient

BY Michael Johnsen

LOS ANGELES — During the American Pharmacists Association’s 2013 Annual Meeting and Exposition here, the Cardinal Health Foundation and APhA on Tuesday awarded the second annual APhA GenerationRx Award of Excellence to Anthony Tommasello, who was chosen in recognition of his work in the area of substance abuse education. Throughout his career, Tommasello has conducted research and provided education to a wide range of patient populations at risk for substance abuse.

"We believe that pharmacists and student pharmacists can play an important role in helping parents, educators, community leaders and teens better understand the dangers of prescription drug abuse," stated Dianne Radigan, VP Cardinal Health Foundation. "We’re pleased to work in collaboration with APhA to recognize the work Dr. Tommasello and these student chapters have done to help prevent prescription drug abuse."

APhA also awarded the third annual APhA-ASP Generation Rx Awards, which recognize use of the GenerationRx toolkit, a communications package including talking points, presentation materials and tips to enable users to raise awareness of prescription drug abuse in their communities. This award is part of a competition among the 128 APhA Academy of Student Pharmacist Chapters. The 2012 national awards were presented to the top three chapters, which were: The University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy, East Tennessee State University Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy and the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The awards mark a continuation of the APhA and Cardinal Health Foundation partnership to prevent the abuse and misuse of prescription medications.


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Infants receive GERD medication more often than necessary, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease are frequently overtreated in infants, according to a new study by researchers in Michigan and Missouri.

The study, published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics, found that doctors often diagnose such common symptoms in infants as crying and spitting up as disease, and frequent diagnoses of GERD can lead to overuse of medications to treat it, said the researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of Missouri.

"As doctors, we need to appreciate that the words we use when talking with patients and parents have power — the power to make a normal process seem like a disease," University of Michigan professor of pediatrics Beth Tarini said. "As pediatricians, our job is to make sick children healthy, not to make healthy children sick."

The researchers surveyed parents at a pediatric clinic in Michigan about how they would respond in a hypothetical scenario: An infant is crying and spitting up but appears otherwise healthy, and the doctor either gives a diagnosis of GERD or gives none. Half the parents also were told that existing medications are probably ineffective, while the rest are not given information about medication effectiveness.

The researchers found that parents who received a GERD diagnosis were interested in giving their infants medication, even when told the medications were ineffective. Those not given a disease label only expressed interest in prescriptions when the doctor did not discuss whether or not the medication was effective.

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Winners of contest to spur interest in pharmacy, STEM careers for high school students announced

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — Three high school seniors from Topeka, Kan., won a contest that sponsors hope will lead to better health outcomes while also getting young people interested in pharmacy careers.

The winners of the inaugural Pharmacy is Right for Me Innovation Challenge, all students at Topeka’s Seaman High School, designed a means to improve medication adherence by equipping medications with a micro-sensor and camera. The contest, which included 14 teams of more than 60 high school students from across the country, is sponsored by the American Pharmacists Association, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy and OptumRx.

The winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington that includes a special reception at APhA headquarters with professional pharmacists and leaders in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

"We created the Pharmacy is Right for Me Innovation Challenge to give high school students a true glimpse into the broad opportunities that pharmacy and other STEM fields can offer," OptumRx SVP professional practice and pharmacy policy and contest advisory board chairman John Jones said. "We also want to tap the imaginative potential of these young students. Our goal is to reach students, particularly young people form underserved and underrepresented communities early in their education to engage the next generation of STEM and pharmacy leaders."

The second- and third-place winners included another team from Seaman High School and one from Dunbar High School in Fort Myers, Fla. Each member of those teams will receive an iPad Mini

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