PHARMACY

NACDS RxImpact shines spotlight on pharmacists’ increasing role in delivery of healthcare services

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — Demonstrating pharmacists’ increasingly important role in the delivery of healthcare services, more than 400 community pharmacists, pharmacy executives, pharmacy students and other pharmacy advocates from 40 states participated in the 6th Annual NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill this week. 

Meetings were conducted with more than 80% of the entire U.S. Congress including 136 of 139 Members of Congress who serve on Congressional committees with jurisdiction on healthcare issues. 

“The NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill is an important opportunity for pharmacy advocates from across the country to discuss pro-patient, pro-pharmacy issues with lawmakers in the nation’s capital,” stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson.  “Extremely valued by those in greatest need, pharmacies help patients use medicines safely and stay healthy, and provide innovative pharmacy services to improve patient health and quality of life, also helping to improve healthcare affordability.”

This year’s NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill program included prominent speakers. Mike Allen, chief White House correspondent for the Washington political publication Politico, addressed attendees during the Welcome Dinner on Wednesday evening, providing timely insights on politics in Washington, D.C., and across the nation.

U.S. Representative Fred Upton, R-Mich., served as the keynote speaker at the Breakfast Briefing on Thursday, and received the NACDS Congressional Leadership Award for his commitment to community pharmacy. Upton serves as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over key pharmacy issues.  This week’s NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill coincided with the introduction of H.R. 4190, which would amend the Social Security Act to designate pharmacists as healthcare providers under the Medicare program. 

Under the bill, pharmacists would work to their full capability by providing underserved patients in the Medicare program with services not currently available to them, including immunizations, diabetes screenings and self-management education, cardiovascular screenings and behavioral therapy — within the scope of state laws.

“It is timely that this commonsense, bipartisan legislation was introduced the week of our annual grassroots advocacy fly-in. So we represented in Washington this week that retail pharmacies are oftentimes the most readily accessible healthcare provider.  Research has shown that nearly all Americans (89%) live within five miles of a community retail pharmacy,” Anderson stated. “Combined with their expertise and training, pharmacists as healthcare providers can serve their patients to their full capabilities.”

U.S. Senator John Tester, D-Mt., and U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., also submitted official comments to the Congressional Record in support of their constituents and community pharmacy in lead-up to NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill. 

“Pharmacy has an important part to play — working collaboratively with other healthcare professionals and providers — in providing patient care for those in need,” Anderson added. “And events like the NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill further reinforce the recognition by lawmakers of that evolving role of pharmacy in patient care.” 

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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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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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