PHARMACY

CVS/pharmacy expands access to naloxone in 12 states

BY Michael Johnsen

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy on Wednesday expanded the availability of the opioid overdose reversal medicine naloxone in 12 states beyond Rhode island and Massachusetts — the two states where naloxone was already available without a prescription. 
 
“Over 44,000 people die from accidental drug overdoses every year in the United States and most of those deaths are from opioids, including controlled substance pain medication and illegal drugs such as heroin,” Tom Davis, VP pharmacy professional practices CVS/pharmacy, said. “Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses and by providing access to this medication in our pharmacies without a prescription in more states, we can help save lives," he said. "While all 7,800 CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide can continue to order and dispense naloxone when a prescription is presented, we support expanding naloxone availability without a prescription and are reviewing opportunities to do so in other states.”
 
The 12 states where CVS/pharmay is offering naloxone without a prescription include: Ark., Calif., Minn., Miss., Mont. , N.J., N.D., Pa., S.C., Tenn., Utah and Wisc.  
 
In addition, CVS Health is currently participating in a research project with Boston Medical Center and Rhode Island Hospital to support a demonstration project of pharmacy-based naloxone rescue kits to help reduce opioid addiction and overdose deaths.
 
CVS/pharmacy has also renewed its Medication Disposal for Safer Communities Program, in which it works with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to donate drug collection units to police departments around the country, helping communities safely dispose of unwanted medications — including controlled substances.
 
“Our Safer Communities program has donated more than 400 drug collection units to local law enforcement around the country since last year, resulting in almost seven tons of unused medication being collected in our communities,” Davis said. “We are pleased to continue this program with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and provide a permanent drug disposal solution at local police departments.”
 
The Drug Enforcement Administration will hold National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Sept. 26. On that day, hundreds of CVS/pharmacy locations around the country will host local law enforcement collection events in store parking lots from 10 a.m to 2 p.m.  
 
Other on-going initiatives at CVS/pharmacy to combat prescription drug abuse include:
  • Availability of postage-paid Environmental Return System envelopes at all of its pharmacies with which customers can send their unwanted medications for secure and environmentally-safe disposal;
  • Identification of physicians who exhibit extreme patterns of prescribing high risk drugs such as pain medications and suspension of dispensing their controlled substance prescriptions; and
  • Advocating at the federal and state levels to implement policy changes to curb prescription drug abuse, such as mandatory electronic prescribing of controlled substances and improved prescription drug monitoring programs.
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Hillary Clinton targets medicine costs in campaign pledge

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Tuesday announced plans that would reduce out-of-pocket drug costs for many American consumers should she be elected President of the United States. Clinton would also enable government agencies to negotiate price directly with pharmaceutical companies. 
 
According to reports, one proposal would limit how much patients could have to spend out of pocket for drugs to $250 a month, or $3,000 a year.
 
And the Clinton proposal places spending mandates on research and development and would remove pharmaceutical advertising as a coporate tax writeoff. 
 
Another tool to drive pharamceutical costs down proposed by Clinton includes allowing the importation of medicines from abroad, which is sure to draw criticism among the retail pharmacy industry. Allowing the importation of medicines not only circumvents community pharmacists, it also opens the closed U.S. pharmaceutical distribution system to counterfeiters. 
 
Since 2008, the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has been collecting data on websites selling medicine illegally online to United States patients. NABP has reviewed over 11,000 Internet drug outlets, finding that 96.1% of the sites reviewed operate out of compliance with U.S. pharmacy laws and practice standards. 
 
In an effort to combat global fraud, the Association recently launched the .Pharmacy Top-Level Domain Program to provide consumers around the world a means to identify safe and legal online pharmacies and related resources. NABP will grant use of the .pharmacy domain only to legitimate website operators that adhere to pharmacy laws in the jurisdictions in which they are based and in which their patients and customers reside, so that consumers can easily find safe online pharmacies. 
 
The news, of course, was not received well across the pharma industry. 
 
“Secretary Clinton’s proposal would turn back the clock on medical innovation and halt progress against the diseases that patients fear most," stated John Castellani, president and CEO of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. "These sweeping and far-reaching proposals would restrict patients’ access to medicines, result in fewer new treatments for patients, cost countless jobs across the country and erode our nation’s standing as the world leader in biomedical innovation," he said. 
 
“These proposals are driven by the false notion that spending on medicines is fueling overall health care cost growth and ignores how the current marketplace for medicines helps keep spending in check," Castellani said. "In reality, the share of health care spending attributable to medicines is projected to continue to grow in line with overall health care cost growth for at least the next decade. This is because competition and negotiation by payers result in steep discounts in medicine prices, and as a result of the current patent system 90% of medicines used are low-cost generic copies."  
 
In the video above, posted to YouTube on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton meets and talks with a local caregiver. 
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Are you a ‘Fit Pharmacist?’

BY DSN STAFF

In the spirit of helping pharmacists and retail healthcare teams lead by example, and model healthy lifestyles and behavior for patients, Drug Store News and higi have issued a call to entry for the next round of the Fit Pharmacist Challenge, which kicks off in October.

Introduced in May, the first-of-its-kind Fit Pharmacist Challenge — produced by Drug Store News in partnership with leading omnichannel community health engagement platform higi — is an online series of fitness-tracking competitions that rewards pharmacists for setting healthy examples for their patients, by logging the most miles in a given challenge period. Winners receive a $500 American Express gift card and three runners-up each will receive a $100 American Express gift card.

To learn more or to register for the October challenge, which is sponsored by Pharmavite, the maker of Nature Made vitamins and supplements, visit DrugStoreNewsCE.com/fit-pharmacist.

Nearly 600 pharmacists signed up in June to enter the first-ever Fit Pharmacist Challenge series, which was won by Publix pharmacy manager Marlena Kelly of Daphne, Ala.

DSN is happy to work along with higi to bring another Fit Pharmacist Challenge to America’s retail pharmacists and retail health care teams,” noted DSN publisher Wayne Bennett. “We are also excited to have the Nature Made brand of vitamins and nutritional supplements as our partner for this challenge. The mission of our Fit Pharmacist Challenges is to align these partners who focus on wellness solutions and optimal health.”

“Pharmacists are one of the top three most trusted health professionals consumers turn to most often for trusted advice,” said higi CMO Sheila McCormick. “They are at the front lines of health care everyday, so they have a unique ability to help individuals make healthier choices. Higi is very excited to partner again with DSN to promote the second DSN/ higi Fit Pharmacist Challenge, which was created to engage, empower and reward pharmacists and their staff to track their activity and health stats.“

“Pharmacists play an important role in patients’ lives, and leading by example is always very important — this is why Nature Made is excited to sponsor the Fit Pharmacist Challenge,” said Tim Toll, chief customer officer at Pharmavite, makers of Nature Made. “We look forward to supporting a fun, educational platform for pharmacists to incorporate fitness, nutrition and overall wellness into their lives.”

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