NCPA commends congressional request for ‘clarification’ regarding DEA controlled substance enforcement
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Thursday commended a bipartisan group of 13 U.S. representatives for a letter they jointly sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration requesting “clarification, guidance and collaboration,” and suggesting that the federal agency’s efforts in addressing supply chain issues of controlled substances across Florida-based distribution centers and pharmacies may be inadvertently preventing patients from accessing certain prescription drugs for which they have legitimate medical needs and prescriptions.
“Many small-pharmacy owners have had difficulties in obtaining certain controlled substances because the supply from wholesalers has been severely limited or shut off," the lawmakers observed. "ln some cases, pharmacies located near hospitals, pain clinics or facilities that serve cancer patients have had difficulties in adequately serving the prescription drug needs of their high-risk, high-need patients. This is especially concerning considering that many of these small pharmacies serve patients in areas where an alternative source for the medications is limited or nonexistent.”
The lawmakers added, “We are concerned that inconsistent interpretation and application of DEA policies, and a lack of clear guidance and communication from DEA to supply chain stakeholders, are leading to patient care issues and supply chain disruption. We are interested in better understanding how these policies are being communicated and whether DEA is monitoring their application.”
“Independent community pharmacists appreciate the leadership of these lawmakers, and we share their concern for patients and the pharmacists who care for them,” stated NCPA CEO Douglas Hoey. “Make no mistake, NCPA and its members agree with Congress, DEA and others regarding the need to appropriately reprimand and prosecute anyone who is knowingly feeding the nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic. At the same time, the right balance must be achieved so that patients in pain with legitimate health needs have access to the drugs their doctors prescribe," he said.
NCPA staff is increasingly hearing from members about the challenges pharmacy staff and patients are experiencing when pharmaceutical wholesalers abruptly cut off medication supplies, presumably out of fear of the DEA or other law enforcement. “Part of the problem could be mixed messages out of the DEA to the pharmaceutical supply chain, leading wholesalers to constrict their supply of controlled substances," Hoey suggested. "Unfortunately, independent community pharmacists can only speculate about the causes, because no one — neither DEA, nor wholesalers — are effectively communicating with them. So pharmacists are left in the dark while some patients in pain are left in need.”
The letter was signed by U.S. Reps. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.; Lou Barletta, R-Pa.; Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Judy Chu, D-Calif.; Howard Coble, R-N.C.; Jim Gerlach, R-Pa.; Tom Marino, R-Pa.; Pat Meehan, R-Pa.; Richard Nugent, R-Fla.; Ted Poe, R-Texas; Dennis Ross, D-Ark.; Lee Terry, R-Neb.; and Peter Welch, D-Vt.
Larry the Cable Guy to promote new wildberry-flavored Prilosec OTC
CINCINNATI — Comedian Larry the Cable Guy over the next three months will be making his way to sporting events across the country to help introduce Procter & Gamble’s recently launched Prilosec OTC Wildberry. The Cable Guy will be kicking things off at the Talladega Superspeedway Oct. 7.
Attendees will be able to celebrate wild American flavors with Larry and learn more about how to block the acid that causes frequent heartburn as he introduces new Prilosec OTC Wildberry. Larry will also encourage fans to enter the Wild American Flavor Sweepstakes. One prize pack winner will be chosen at random to receive tickets to the Super Bowl on Feb. 3, the first big auto race of the year in Daytona Beach on Feb. 24 and the basketball championship game in Atlanta on April 8.
Fans will be able to keep up with Larry’s travels by visiting WildberryFlavor.com and viewing a new video series created by Yardbarker.
Sanofi to visit San Francisco Walgreens on the next stop of its VacciNation Tour
SWIFTWATER, Pa. — Sanofi Pasteur will bring its Fluzone Intradermal Vaccine Coop de Quill VacciNation Tour to a San Francisco Walgreens on Oct. 6 as part of its cross-country efforts to raise awareness about the seriousness of influenza and the various vaccine options that are available for adults 18 to 64 years of age this flu season.
"The one thing we know about flu season is that it’s unpredictable, and the single most important thing people can do to help prevent getting or spreading the flu is to get their annual flu vaccination," stated Melanie Malee, Walgreens market pharmacy director. "These events are an opportunity to talk with customers and others in the community about influenza and which vaccine option may be right for them. Helping protect more people from the flu is one of the ways we aim to help customers get, stay and live well."
Results from a recent national telephone survey of 663 adults revealed that low rates of vaccinations against the flu highlight a disconnect between fear and action, as 2-out-of-every-3 (67%) adults 18 through 64 years of age said if they had influenza, they fear spreading the virus to their loved ones, yet 3-in-5 (61%) adults said they are not vaccinated annually.
The survey also showed that 53% of adults 18 through 64 years of age who were vaccinated annually reported that their vaccination experience would be better if the needle was much smaller, and 65% said their experience would be better if access to the flu shot was more convenient.
A local survey of 401 adults in San Francisco revealed similar results as nearly 3-out-of-every-4 (73%) of adults 18 through 64 years of age said if they had influenza, they fear spreading the virus to their loved ones, yet more than half (55%) of adults said they are not vaccinated annually.
The Coop de Quill vehicle, which features a supersized rooftop 3-D structure of the Fluzone Intradermal vaccine, will be on-site.