PHARMACY

NACDS stresses need for a ‘comprehensive solution’ to prescription drug abuse

BY Ryan Chavis

PALM BEACH, Fla. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Wednesday announced that the Orlando Sentinel published a letter to the editor from NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson that outlines the way pharmacists approach complex prescription pain medication issues. 
 
NACDS submitted the letter at a time when the issue is receiving state-wide media attention. The organization said the coverage often times focuses only on one part of prescription drug abuse — addiction and access — which limits the understanding of such issues and the possible solutions for them.
 
"Pharmacists have a 100 percent commitment to patient care, and a zero-tolerance for prescription drug abuse. But we cannot solve these issues alone,”  Anderson wrote. “That is why NACDS encourages a comprehensive solution.”
 
Anderson’s letter encourages support for the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015, which seeks to bring health and enforcement agencies together to better approach these issues. The complete letter-to-the-editor is as follows:
 
“In one household, a family is devastated by prescription drug abuse. While in another, a patient can’t understand why he is denied the pain medications needed to make life bearable.
 
“Both scenarios are heartbreaking and different, but also tied together.  That’s why any solution to the challenges of prescription drug abuse and prescription drug access should be addressed simultaneously.
 
“Four years ago, Florida was known as the unofficial pill mill capital of the country.  High powered prescription narcotics were being abused across the state and something had to be done.  So law enforcement cracked down, the legislature enacted new laws, and many of the questionable pain clinics were closed. Today, drug abuse cases and deaths are down significantly.
 
“Closing rogue pill mills and cracking down on abuse is the right thing to do.  But unfortunately, it’s also contributed to the unintended consequence of leaving some patients without much-needed medication.
 
“The outcome: Pharmacists are caught in the middle. Pharmacists have a 100 percent commitment to patient care, and a zero-tolerance for prescription drug abuse.  But we cannot solve these issues alone. That is why the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), encourages a comprehensive solution.
 
“In 2014, the federal government further tightened access to prescription medications containing hydrocodone. NACDS joined with patient advocates to oppose these efforts, because we want ensure patients in legitimate need of these medications can get them.
 
“At the same time, NACDS is committed to helping prevent drug abuse. While doctors are required to be responsible when they prescribe controlled substances, pharmacists have a ‘corresponding responsibility’ when they dispense those drugs.
 
“NACDS offers training programs for pharmacists to identify red flags – based on federal regulations – that could indicate potential drug abuse. We’ve also developed an online continuing course to educate pharmacists about new controlled substance policies.
 
“Ultimately, a solution will have to address abuse and access at the same time.  Fortunately, recent bipartisan federal legislation seeks to do just that.  The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015 (S. 482 and H.R. 471) would establish a cooperative framework between government agencies, patients, and providers.
 
“Collaboration is key. Pharmacists have been and will be part of developing a workable solution in Florida and across the country.” 
keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

Which area of the industry do you think Amazon’s entry would shake up the most?
PHARMACY

CVS Health expands health partnerships into Louisiana and Mississippi

BY Michael Johnsen

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – CVS Health on Wednesday announced new clinical affiliations with Ochsner Health System in Louisiana and the University of Mississippi Medical Center, including their Center for Telehealth. 
 
"In this era of health care reform, we are pleased to work with these health care organizations to develop collaborative programs that enhance access to patient care, improve health outcomes and lower health care costs in the communities they serve," stated Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer, CVS Health. "By integrating our electronic medical records and information systems, we will collectively have a more comprehensive view of our patients, which can aid in health care decision making and help ensure patients adhere to important medications for chronic diseases." 
 
Through these clinical affiliations, CVS Health will provide prescription and visit information to the participating health care organizations through the integration of secured electronic health record systems. 
 
Affiliates' health care providers will receive data on interventions conducted by CVS pharmacists to improve medication adherence for their patients. The affiliation also encourages collaboration between the health care providers and MinuteClinic providers to improve coordination of care for patients seen at MinuteClinic locations. Physicians affiliated with the participating organizations will collaborate with MinuteClinic practitioners to work closely on joint clinical programs and care coordination activities. 
 
MinuteClinic, CVS/pharmacy and the participating health care organizations will begin to work toward integrating EHR systems to streamline and enhance communication. This integration will include the electronic sharing of messages and alerts from CVS/pharmacy to the health care organizations' physicians regarding medication non-adherence issues. In addition, MinuteClinic will electronically share patient visit summaries with the patient's primary care physician when they are part of an affiliate organization and with the patient's consent. MinuteClinic will continue its standard practice of sending patient visit summaries to primary care providers who are not affiliated with one of these participating health care organizations via fax or mail, with patient consent. 
 
CVS/pharmacy currently has more than 7,800 retail pharmacy locations across the U.S. where CVS pharmacists provide counseling to patients to help them be adherent to their chronic disease medications. In addition, the company's retail clinic arm MinuteClinic plays an important role by providing patients with walk-in health care. There are more than 900 MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics available at CVS/pharmacy retail stores. 
 
The new clinical affiliations announced here bring the total number of health system and health care provider affiliations for CVS Health and MinuteClinic to more than 50 major health systems and health care providers across the country. 
 
keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

Which area of the industry do you think Amazon’s entry would shake up the most?
PHARMACY

FDA approves first generic versions of Abilify

BY Ryan Chavis

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced approval for the first generic versions of Abilify (aripiprazole) tablets, an antipsychotic drug indicated for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
 
The following companies been granted approval by the FDA to market generic aripiprazole: Alembic Pharmaceuticals, Hetero Labs, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Torrent Pharmaceuticals. 
 
“Having access to treatments is important for patients with long-term health conditions,” said John Peters, M.D., acting director of the Office of Generic Drugs in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Health care professionals and consumers can be assured that FDA-approved generic drugs have met the same rigorous standards as the brand-name drug.”
 
About one percent of Americans have schizophrenia, the FDA said. Symptoms first appear in adults younger than 30 years of age and include “hearing voices, believing other people are reading their minds or controlling thoughts and being suspicious or withdrawn.”

Bipolar disorder — also referred to as manic-depressive illness — causes shifts in mood, energy and activity levels and can affect a person’s ability to perform daily tasks, the FDA stated. Symptoms can include periods of depression, increased activity and restlessness and impulsive behavior, among others. 

keyboard_arrow_downCOMMENTS

Leave a Reply

No comments found

TRENDING STORIES

POLLS

Which area of the industry do you think Amazon’s entry would shake up the most?