PHARMACY

Cardinal Health Foundation announces release of newest Rx safety toolkit to educate youth

BY Antoinette Alexander

DUBLIN, Ohio — The Cardinal Health Foundation and the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy have announced the introduction of the Medication Safety toolkit, the fifth in a series of interactive toolkits designed to help reduce the abuse of prescription drugs.

The Medication Safety toolkit is designed to arm parents, teachers, organizational leaders and health professionals across the country with the necessary resources to discuss the issue of medication safety with elementary-aged children.

The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy faculty, staff and students, in collaboration with local elementary schools, created the Medication Safety toolkit. The toolkit includes materials appropriate for elementary-aged children grades K-5. The materials focus on four medication safety principles:

  • Only take medicine given by a trusted adult;
  • Do not share medication or take someone else's medication;
  • Keep medications in their original containers to avoid confusion with candy or other medicines; and
  • Always store medicine in a safe place, such as a locked cabinet or a high shelf that children cannot reach.

From activity stations and supplemental worksheets to games and visual aids, the contents of this toolkit allow for customization based on the audience and venue to help foster conversation and educate the young participants on how to use medicines safely. In this pharmacy news, the various materials included in the toolkit can easily be implemented in the upcoming Nationwide Poison Prevention Week, an initiative led by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

"Our newest toolkit allows adults to start the conversation of medication safety at a very early age," said Betsy Walker, manager, community relations at Cardinal Health. "This collection of age-appropriate resources provides a foundation for educating our youth about how to use medicines safely before entering their formative years, where prescription drug abuse starts becoming a prevalent issue."

The Medication Safety toolkit can be found at cardinalhealth.com/generationrx. The site also hosts four additional toolkits aimed at different audiences including teens, college students, adults and seniors to prevent medication misuse and abuse.

 

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Perrigo launches methazolamide tablets

BY Ryan Chavis

DUBLIN — Perrigo announced the launch of methazolamide tablets, the generic version of Neptazane tablets. The product is a component of the rights the company received in connection with its acquisition of a portfolio of ophthalmic products from Fera Pharmaceuticals and its affiliates last year.

The drug is used for the treatment of ocular conditions where lowering intraocular pressure is likely to be of therapeutic benefit, such as chronic open-angle glaucoma, secondary glaucoma and preoperatively in acute angle-closure glaucoma, where lowering the intraocular pressure is desired before surgery, according to the company. Estimated annual sales of the drug total $12 million.

"This launch reflects our continuing investment in new products, is a great addition to the portfolio of ophthalmic products Perrigo is marketing today and is just another example of our commitment to driving additional value for our shareholders," Perrigo’s Chairman, President and CEO Joseph C. Papa, said.

 

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NACDS urges Congress to consider role of pharmacy in ‘Fiscal 2015 Budget’

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. – Citing pharmacist-administered medication therapy management, recognition of pharmacists as healthcare providers, the need for fair and accurate pharmacy reimbursement in state Medicaid programs and other pharmacy services, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores has sent a statement to lawmakers urging them to consider pharmacy provisions within the “Fiscal 2015 Budget,” released by the administration last week.

NACDS submitted a statement to the House Budget Committee and House Ways and Means Committee as each begins review of the “Fiscal 2015 Budget” during hearings this week.

“Community pharmacies and pharmacists provide access to prescription medications and over-the-counter products, as well as cost-effective health services, such as immunizations and disease screenings,” NACDS stated in its comments. “Through personal interactions with patients, face-to-face consultations and convenient access to preventive care services, local pharmacists are helping to shape the healthcare delivery system of tomorrow — in partnership with doctors, nurses and others.”

In its statement, NACDS cited public and private studies showing the health benefits and cost-savings as a result of pharmacist-provided MTM services, including a 2013 report by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which found that Part D MTM programs improved medication adherence and quality of prescribing for evidence-based medications for beneficiaries with congestive heart failure, COPD and diabetes.

“Moreover, policymakers have begun to recognize the vital role that local pharmacists can play in improving medication adherence.  Congress has recognized the importance of pharmacist-provided services, such as MTM, by including it as a required offering in the Medicare Part D program,” NACDS stated in its comments.

Highlighting pharmacists’ ability to provide services that lead to better clinical outcomes and lower healthcare costs, NACDS urged the “implementation of budget proposals that allow all healthcare providers, including retail pharmacists, to practice to their maximum capabilities, working in partnership to provide accessible, high-quality care to patients.”

Focusing on patient access to care, NACDS expressed its opposition to the Department of Health and Human Services proposal within the FY2015 Budget to exclude brand and authorized generic drugs from the calculation of average manufacture price, thereby calculating Medicaid Federal Upper Limits based only on generic drug prices.

“While the goal of this provision may be to decrease Medicaid costs, we believe it may, in fact, reduce access to prescription drugs and pharmacy services for Medicaid patients, resulting in increased overall healthcare expenditures,” NACDS stated in its comments.

NACDS’ recent analysis, indicated that approximately 35% of the draft FULs are below National Average Drug Acquisition Cost.
 
“This analysis confirms that additional efforts by CMS are necessary to ensure that pharmacies are not reimbursed below their costs using the reimbursement formula created by the Affordable Care Act. We urge CMS to utilize the rulemaking process to implement the Medicaid pharmacy provisions in a manner consistent with congressional intent, rather than pursuing policies that would further cut pharmacy reimbursement,” NACDS stated in its comments.

NACDS also stressed the implications on patient care if CMS pursues changes to Medicaid reimbursement of durable medical equipment specifically for diabetes testing supplies.

“Reducing Medicaid reimbursement for DTS to match the Medicare rate could similarly produce hardships for Medicaid beneficiaries in terms of reducing access to needed supplies and threatening the health of an already fragile population.

In its statement, NACDS also expressed support for provisions to increase the utilization of generic drugs, which help control prescription drug costs, and stressed cautious support for efforts by HHS to reduce waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, but in a manner that does not to disrupt beneficiary access or jeopardize beneficiary health.

“We look forward to working with policymakers and stakeholders on these important issues,” NACDS concluded in its statement

 

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