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DEA issues final rule on the rescheduling of HCPs

BY Ryan Chavis

WASHINGTON — The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a final rule rescheduling hydrocodone combination products from schedule III to schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act. This final rule imposes the regulatory controls and sanctions applicable to schedule II substances on those who handle HCPs, according to the DEA. The rule is effective beginning Oct.6, 2014.

The CSA puts substances with medical uses into one of four schedules, the DEA said. Substances with the greatest potential for harm and abuse are categorized as schedule II and substances with less potential for harm and abuse are placed in schedules III through V. Schedule I is meant for controlled substances that don't currently have an accepted medical use. HCPs are drugs that contain hydrocodone (a schedule II drug) and specific amounts of other substances, such as acetaminophen or aspirin.

“Almost seven million Americans abuse controlled-substance prescription medications, including opioid painkillers, resulting in more deaths from prescription drug overdoses than auto accidents,” said DEA administrator Michele Leonhart, “Today’s action recognizes that these products are some of the most addictive and potentially dangerous prescription medications available.”

The entire final rule may be reviewed here.

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Same-day delivery continues to gain steam as Uber jumps aboard

BY Antoinette Alexander

Feeling under the weather and need an over-the-counter medication delivered to your door or diapers for the little one? Call Uber.

That’s right. Uber, a taxi app company, has announced that it is experimenting with a drug store shopping and delivery service in a limited area to Washington, D.C., residents.

What does it mean for pharmacy retailers? Well, one thing that’s for sure is that if Uber’s service takes off and becomes standard (Uber has said that “the more you love it, the more likely it will last”), it could help pharmacy retailers better compete with rivals who are beefing up their same-day delivery offerings.

For example, Amazon currently serves 12 markets with a same-day delivery service, and even extends that service to the weekends in certain parts of Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle. In addition, Walmart To Go is already offering same-day service in three markets — Denver, San Francisco and San Jose — and Target is test-marketing same-day delivery service in Minneapolis, Boston and Miami, reported DSN senior editor Michael Johnsen in a recent article.

According to several industry sources, the momentum is expected to gain steam in the coming years, especially since affluent millennials are showing the greatest interest in same-day delivery.

In fact, as Johnsen reported, a recent RetailNet analysis indicates that AmazonFresh’s same-day delivery service may be able to reach as much as 80% of the population eventually, and as much as 50% in the next 36 months.

So, for those retailers who have not yet waded into the same-day delivery space or are simply dabbling, it is a trend that is not to be underestimated. If the momentum continues, as anticipated, it will become a standard — sooner rather than later.

 

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FDA approves smartphone blood-sugar monitor

BY David Salazar

WASHINGTON — With a newly approved device, diabetics can turn their smartphone into a blood glucose monitor. The Food and Drug Administration cleared South Korean company Philosys’ Gmate SMART blood sugar monitoring device for U.S. marketing on Aug. 15. The device plugs into the headphone Jack on iPhones and iPads and — using the company’s Gmate app — turns the phone or tablet into a blood sugar monitor. 

"This is an exciting time for Philosys as we continue our efforts to be a technology leader for the diabetes mobile monitoring arena,” Philosys SVP sales Mike Tickle said. “The Gmate SMART will give our customers TeleHealth capabilities with the accuracy and quality they deserve at a cost effective price.” 

The app can store blood glucose data over time and users can email it to physicians. Users can also categorize when in the day — before or after a meal, or after exercise — they monitor their blood sugar. The device is about the size of a quarter and doesn’t require any adapters or need to be paired through Bluetooth. The Gmate app is currently only available for iOS devices.

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