HEALTH

CRN gives educational grant to Pharmacy Practice

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The CRN Foundation, an educational foundation formed by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, on Tuesday announced it has provided an educational grant to Pharmacy Practice, a sister publication of Drug Store News, to develop a continuing education module for pharmacists around the use of dietary supplements for the second year.

“Nearly 40% of consumers from the CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements cite pharmacists as a reliable source of information about supplements — second only to doctors,” stated Judy Blatman, SVP, communications, CRN. “And since nurse practitioners are often on the front lines of communication with patients and they focus on providing comprehensive, personalized health education, both nurse practitioners and pharmacists are excellent audiences to educate about the role that dietary supplements play in maintaining overall health and wellness.”

The grant will allow retail pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to receive CE credits from two different courses via on-line webinars. Drug Store News markets the program to pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy schools through a series of promotional emails, postcards and advertisements placed in the publication.

The first course — “Managing Joint and Bone Health and Dietary Supplements” — was held late last week with speaker Jason Theodosakis. The second course — “Women’s Health and Dietary Supplements” — will be held in November and will feature Tori Hudson as the educator.

The archived webinars will be accessible on www.cedrugstorenews.com for three years, CRN stated. Pharmacists who successfully complete each webinar will receive one contact hour of CE credit.

Similar to last year, the educational grant will also allow for continuing education programs to appear in print — however, the audience for this year’s print CE lessons will be nurse practitioners, Blatman noted. Two in-print CE lessons will run in Retail Clinician, a Drug Store News publication that reaches nurse practitioners practicing in a retail settting , with the first CE lesson being an adaptation of the 2008 in-print lesson to pharmacists, “The Regulation of Dietary Supplements,” by Annette Dickinson. This lesson ran in the August 2009 issue of Retail Clinician and will be available on-line for one year.

Hudson will also adapt her pharmacists’ webinar lesson on women’s health and dietary supplements to an in-print version for nurse practitioners. This lesson is set to run in the November 2009 issue of Retail Clinician and will also be available on-line for one year. Nurse practitioners who complete the print program will receive continuing education credit corresponding to each lesson.

“We are pleased to again have the opportunity to receive this educational grant from CRN and work with such a well-respected organization,” stated Crystal Lennartz, director, continuing education, Drug Store News. “Both pharmacists and nurse practitioners are eager for information on health and nutrition, including dietary supplements, so these programs are a great fit to keep these healthcare professionals well-informed and well-educated on the important role that dietary supplements play in overall health and wellness.”

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NPA testifies against illegal steroids

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Here’s the breakdown: Two government officials representing the Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency joined Travis Tygart of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (the body responsible for keeping performance-enhancing drugs out of U.S. Olympic athletes), Daniel Fabricant of the Natural Products Association and Richard Kingham, a litigator specialized in food/drug law, before a panel of senators — less to inform the Senate around the problem of steroids sold as dietary supplements, and more to be grilled by those senators as to why those products are actually on any market.

 

The senators were Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Arlen Specter, D-Pa., who played a sort of good cop/bad cop routine. Hatch was the good cop, at least as the dietary supplement industry goes, as he defended the legislation governing the regulation of dietary supplements that he helped draft some 15 years ago. Specter played the bad cop — questioning the regulatory priorities of the two governing bodies present, while raising the thought of adding more regulations to the FDA and/or DEA already-underutilized toolbox.

 

Following the hearing, dietary supplements emerged as the unwilling participants in all of this talk around performance enhancing supplements. You almost had to wonder why Fabricant was present, except to politely remind everyone that the dietary supplement manufacturers who actually distribute product through mass-channel retailers actually fought for (as in not against) such additional regulations as certified good manufacturing practices or mandated serious adverse event reports, and as such are not likely to field illegal products.

At stake in all of this is whether or not legitimate dietary supplement players ought to seek premarket approval, a condition that if ever really implemented, would decimate any future innovation in the almost $6 billion mass-channel business (according to the latest Nielsen Company figures). It’s also a condition that wouldn’t actually do much to pull those steroid drugs masquerading as supplements off the market, unless you expect those well-respected criminals to actually file an NSA (new supplement application) that contained ingredients that would not only land their consumers in the hospital, but would also land them in jail if ever actually discovered in the trunks of their cars.

The alternative, proposed by Hatch, is to place more resources behind enforcement of the laws on the book, as opposed to creating new laws that would more likely cripple legitimate manufacturers as actually inhibit outliers from selling steroids.

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Report: Oklahoma may reverse-switch PSE law

BY Michael Johnsen

OKLAHOMA CITY According to an Associated Press report published Thursday, Oklahoma may join California in considering the reverse-switch of pseudoephedrine, making the common decongestant available only with a doctor’s prescription, in an effort to stem methamphetamine production.

Oklahoma arrests for methamphetamine production have risen sharply over the past 18 months, peaking in April when 37 cases involving a total of 74 defendants were filed in state district court, according to the report.

Rep. Lucky Lamons, D-Tulsa, Okla., announced plans to introduce the reverse-switch legislation in  2010.

Both the Oklahoma Pharmacists Association and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association oppose the proposed measure, arguing that the are policies in place, if enforced, would effectively stem meth production while still maintaining legitimate access to the cold medicine.

Similar to California and in Missouri, CHPA has offered to fund a state-wide electronic logging system that would enable law enforcement to track people attempting to purchase more than their legal limit in PSE products in real time.

Oregon is currently the only state that requires a prescription for pseudoephedrine products.

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