PHARMACY

HDMA responds to U.S. Attorney General Holder’s address on Rx drug abuse

BY Antoinette Alexander

ARLINGTON, Va. — In a statement, HDMA president and CEO John Gray said the national association representing primary healthcare distributors applauds U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s weekly address concerning the nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic.

“HDMA applauds United States Attorney General Eric Holder for addressing the prescription drug abuse epidemic our country faces. AG Holder’s call for a multi-faceted approach to combat this public health challenge is the right one. The recent rise in heroin use — as well as emerging concerns about the inability of patients to access their legitimately prescribed medications — reaffirms the need to create a comprehensive and collaborative strategy that provides equal weight to enforcement, public health and treatment efforts, ” Gray stated.
 
“Recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, pharmaceutical distributors, along with their supply chain partners, are committed to a more coordinated and transparent approach to address the prescription drug abuse problem. The complexity of this public health challenge will require the entire healthcare supply chain to work together in close partnership with state and federal entities to effectively stem the tide of prescription drug abuse and minimize the potential for unintended consequences,” Gray stated.
 
He added that, “HDMA looks forward to working with all stakeholders to develop and implement solutions that begin to bring the prescription drug abuse epidemic under control, ensure patient safety and allow for continued access to medicines for legitimate patients.”

 

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PHARMACY

APhA survey: Growth, improvement in pharmacy-based immunizations

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — The American Pharmacists Association has completed its 2013 Pharmacy-based Influenza and Adult Immunization Survey and found an increase in the administration of numerous vaccines by pharmacists, a growing network of patient referral relationships and steps being taken toward improved documentation practices, the Association has announced.

Influenza remained the most commonly administered vaccine (88%) among the practice sites represented in survey responses. The majority of practice sites also reported the current administration of pneumococcal (77%), herpes zoster (75%), and tetanus (57%) vaccines. However, fewer than one-half of the practice sites were reported as currently administering vaccines for hepatitis B (47%), hepatitis A (43%), meningococcal (43%), human papillomavirus (37%), international travel (25%), and pediatric patients (10%).

Pharmacists play a central role in establishing an immunization neighborhood by assessing the vaccination needs of all their patients, administering any necessary vaccines as allowed by state law, and appropriately documenting and following up with other health professionals to ensure continuity of care.

Pharmacists and other health professionals are encouraged to review their patients’ vaccination status at each patient encounter and to educate patients on which vaccines should be administered. In addition, all professionals need to be up to date with the 2014 adult immunization recommendations so that patients can be properly informed, the Association stated. The hope is that these measures, along with improved communication between vaccination providers and resolution of access barriers, will improve adult immunization rates going forward.

The national survey assessed pharmacy-based immunizations on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services National Vaccine Program Office. Links to the Internet-based survey were e-mailed to pharmacists in all pharmacy practice settings from Aug. 24 to Sept. 14, 2013. Responses were received from 2,351 participants, a 35% response rate.

 

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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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