CVS/pharmacy announces donation of drug collection units
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy is teaming up with The Partnership at Drugree.org to create a community donation program through which local police departments can apply to receive a drug collection unit to help their communities safely dispose of unwanted medications, including controlled substances, the pharmacy retailer announced on Thursday.
As part of CVS/pharmacy’s Medication Disposal for Safer Communities program, up to 1,000 receptacles will be awarded to police departments through an application process that will launch on May 1. The Partnership at Drugfree.org will obtain the drug collection units from MedReturn.
"As part of our on-going commitment to combat prescription drug abuse, we have participated in events for many years with law enforcement to help safely dispose of expired, unused or unwanted medication," stated Josh Flum, SVP of retail pharmacy at CVS Caremark. "Through this donation program, CVS/pharmacy and The Partnership at Drugfree.org will now provide our communities with a permanent drug disposal solution at their local police departments."
CVS/pharmacy is the only retail pharmacy sponsor of The Partnership at Drugfree.org’s Medicine Abuse Project, a multi-year initiative to prevent a half-million teenagers from abusing prescription medication by the year 2017.
CVS/pharmacy also is a strong supporter of National Prescription Drug Take Back Day being held April 26. Nearly 200 CVS/pharmacy locations across the United States will host drug take back events managed by local law enforcement agencies.
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, established by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means to dispose of prescription drugs, while educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. It is held twice each year, in the spring and fall, at thousands of locations in the United States. Since its inception, more than 3.4 million pounds of unneeded medications have been collected and destroyed.
Reports: Actavis pulls cough syrup after product abuse
NEW YORK — A cough syrup produced by Actavis will no longer be available due to the negative light cast on the product stemming from abuse by musicians like Justin Bieber and Soulja Boy, according to a report from the Huffington Post.
Individuals who abuse the cough syrup will often mix it with soda or candy to make it sweeter. The drink — which is colloquially known as "Sizzurp" — can cause hallucinations and drowsiness, and contains 25 times the recommended amount of promethazine and codeine. Last year, musician Lil Wayne suffered seizures after excessive amounts of codeine were found in his system.
"Given [recent media attention], Actavis has made the bold and unprecedented decision to cease all production and sales of its Promethazine Codeine product," a rep for Actavis was quoted as saying. "This attention has glamorized the unlawful and dangerous use of the product, which is contrary to its approved indication."
Research: ACOs now serving up to 17% of Americans
NEW YORK — More than two-thirds of the U.S. population now live in localities served by accountable care organizations and more than 40% live in areas served by two or more. That’s according to new analysis by consulting firm Oliver Wyman, based on the Department of Health and Human Services’ announcement of the latest class of ACOs approved to participate in Medicare’s ACO programs.
The latest round of approvals in January brings the total of Medicare ACOs to 368, up from 259 a year ago, and the total number of ACOs to 522, up from 320.
- According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, about 5.3 million Medicare beneficiaries, or about 10% of all Medicare beneficiaries, will now receive their healthcare from ACOs.
- Most of these Medicare ACOs also serve non-Medicare patients and are moving toward serving all their patients under ACO arrangements. Medicare ACOs currently serve 33 million non-Medicare patients, up from 25 million in July 2013.
- There are currently more than 150 non-Medicare ACOs, compared with approximately 130 in July 2013. The total number of patients in organizations with ACO arrangements with at least one payer — both Medicare and non-Medicare — is now between 46 million and 52 million or roughly 15% to 18% of the population. The corresponding figures in July 2013 were 37 million to 43 million and 12% to 14% of the population.
“The rapid growth of ACOs is very encouraging,” said Niyum Gandhi, a partner in Oliver Wyman’s Health & Life Sciences practice and one of the firm’s experts on ACOs. “But no one should be deceived: The process of shifting American healthcare to a new, sustainable model is nowhere near the finish line. On the other hand, these numbers mean we have a critical mass lined up at the starting gate.”
Gandhi pointed out that ACOs were designed to create a new kind of competition in health care, with providers taking responsibility for the patient’s total health and competing on the basis of cost and quality. The idea: competition will drive them to adopt more effective, cost-efficient ways to deliver health care.
“But when will we see the kind of competition that leads to real change? That’s the real question,” Gandhi said. “But now that two-thirds of Americans have access to an ACO and almost half have access to two or more. Here’s a prediction: Once the fire is lit, it’s going to spread quickly.”