National Governor’s Association focuses on prescription drug abuse
WASHINGTON — As part of the National Governors Association’s ongoing effort to help states reduce prescription drug abuse, findings from the Prescription Drug Abuse Reduction Policy Academy were the focus of the Health and Human Services Committee session at NGA’s 2014 Winter Meeting, the association announced Sunday.
NGA vice chair Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley have led the Prescription Drug Abuse Project since September 2012. Throughout the yearlong initiative, seven states — including Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oregon and Virginia — have worked to develop coordinated plans to combat prescription drug abuse.
During the Winter Meeting session, “Battling an Epidemic: State Efforts to Combat Prescription Drug Abuse,” governors released an issue brief detailing lessons learned from the policy academy.
Findings from "Reducing Prescription Drug Abuse: Lessons Learned from an NGA Policy Academy" included:
- Leadership matters;
- Prescribing behavior needs to change;
- Disposal options should be convenient and cost-effective;
- Prescription drug monitoring programs are underused;
- Public education is critical;
- Treatment is essential; and
- Data, metrics and evaluation must drive policy and practice.
“The abuse of prescription drugs continues to be seen in communities across the nation,” Hickenlooper stated. “This initiative helped states develop effective strategies to help decrease the number of individuals who are misusing or abusing prescription drugs and the resulting number of people who are harmed or die.”
“When discussing efforts to fight this problem, we must remember to differentiate between those who are abusing prescription drugs and those who legitimately need these medications,” Gov. Bentley noted.
“HDMA applauds the NGA for addressing our nation’s ongoing prescription drug abuse epidemic by convening a variety of stakeholders — including HDMA — to participate in its Prescription Drug Abuse Reduction Policy Academy," said John Gray, president and CEO of the Healthcare Distribution Management Association. "We … agree that policymakers will need to be mindful of potential unintended consequences that may occur from adopting certain solutions, which may hamper legitimate patient access to medicines. HDMA and the nation’s primary healthcare distributors look forward to working with the NGA and others as it continues this initiative, as we work together to eradicate prescription drug abuse in the United States.”
Because this issue remains a top priority for governors, NGA announced a second round of the initiative to be led by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin.
Myalept gets FDA approval
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved Myalept (metreleptin for injection) to treat complications of leptin deficiency in patients with congenital generalized or acquired generalized lipodystrophy, which is a condition associated with a lack of fat tissue.
Patients with cogenital generalized lipodystrophy are born with little or no fat tissue, and those patients with acquired generalized lipodystrophy will generally lose fat tissue over time. Patients with both types are prone to develop severe insulin resistance at a young age, which may lead to diabetes that is difficult to manage or very high levels of triglycerides in the blood (hypertriglyceridemia) that may lead to inflammation of the pancreas.
“Myalept is the first approved therapy indicated for treating the complications associated with congenital or acquired generalized lipodystrophy and provides a needed treatment option for patients with this orphan disease,” said Mary Parks, M.D., deputy director of the Office of Drug Evaluation II in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Myalept is available only through the Myalept Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy program due to the risks associated with the development of neutralizing antibodies and lymphoma. Under the REMS program, prescribers must be certified with the program by enrolling in and completing training. Pharmacies must also be certified with REMS and only dispense the drug after receipt of the Myalept REMS Prescription Authorization Form for each new prescription.
SpartanNash to launch pharmacy app this summer
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — SpartanNash on Tuesday announced the formation of a partnership to offer a comprehensive mobile and web pharmacy solution to SpartanNash customers. The mobile solution, powered by mscripts, will enable SpartanNash customers to refill prescriptions, receive pickup and dosage reminders, and manage accounts for their family members.
SpartanNash operates 88 pharmacies in six states throughout the upper Midwest.
“We are thrilled to provide a solution to help our customers manage their medications conveniently,” stated Larry Pierce, VP of center store merchandising at SpartanNash. “This helps our customers, particularly those who have complex medication regimes, stay on top of their health. They can refill through text or in the app, no matter where they are. They can set reminders to take their medications without having to enter all the prescription information first. They can see a list of all their scripts any time.”
“SpartanNash really understands the role mobile can play in forging close ties to their local community,” added Mark Cullen, CEO of mscripts. “This allows SpartanNash pharmacy customers to see and manage their prescriptions, either on the phone or through the website, making it easy to fill and take their medications on schedule and as prescribed.”
The new app will be available to SpartanNash customers in early summer 2014 as a free download through Apple iTunes and the Android Market. The application will operate on a secure network and integrated with McKesson’s EnterpriseRx pharmacy management system, enabling SpartanNash to offer a variety of digital communication pathways to its customers.