PHARMACY

Pharmacy employees may be inhaling airborne prescription drug particles

BY Alaric DeArment

DEREXEL, Mo. Employees at retail pharmacies may be breathing in airborne drug dust, a study has found.

AlburtyLab said Thursday that pill dispensing technology that uses air pressure in its robot exposes tens of thousands of pharmacy workers to unsafe levels of drug particles.

“Certain types of robotic dispensing systems, specifically the McKesson/Parata RDS used in hundreds of retail pharmacies employ air pressure to dispense pills into prescription bottles, and pill dust is readily observed in the vicinity of these machines,” study authors David Alburty and Pamela Murowchick wrote.

AlburtyLab collaborated with Inovatia and the University of Missouri Mass Spectrometry Facility to conduct the study in five retail pharmacies over 24-hour periods to determine concentration levels, size characteristics and chemical properties of pill dust generated by three dispensing methods: the McKesson/Parata RDS system, the gravity-based ScriptPro SP 200 Robotic Prescription Dispensing System and traditional manual counting. The three methods account for about 97 percent of all forms of dispensing in pharmacies in the United States today.

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Medicare patients not getting cancer screenings often enough

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. A study by researchers at the University of North Carolina shows that screening rates for certain types of cancer among older Medicaid patients lag behind national objectives.

The study, published in the Oct. 13 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine and based on documented evidence, analyzed 1,951 Medicaid recipients in North Carolina aged 50 and older and found that physicians recommended screening for colorectal, breast and cervical cancer to 52.7 percent, 60.4 percent and 51.5 percent of patients, respectively.

Respective rates of adequate screening for the three cancers were 28.2 percent, 31.7 percent and 31.6 percent.

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Report shows Philadelphia has high rate of those treated for diabetes type 2

BY Alaric DeArment

PHILADELPHIA Percentages of people in Philadelphia who receive services to treat type 2 diabetes are higher than national averages. At the same time, the percentage of working-age people with the disease is higher in the city than the national average.

These are some of the results in the Greater Philadelphia Type 2 Diabetes Report for 2008, released Wednesday by the Greater Philadelphia Diabetes Coalition, which analyzed the demographics, costs and quality of care for people in the city with type 2 diabetes. The report included data from around the city’s metropolitan area, as well as western Pennsylvania and Atlantic City, N.J.

“GPDC helped develop the Greater Philadelphia Type 2 Diabetes Report to serve as a useful resource for employers, illustrating the seirous negative impact diabetes has on the Greater Philadelphia area,” GPDC chairman Dr. Ronald Brooks said. “This report points out the need to prevent diabetes through exercise and prudent nutrition as well as the importance that people with diabetes receive optimal care, based on evidence-based guidelines.”

The report also shows that 57 percent of Philadelphia residents in 2007 were between 18 and 64 years old, higher than the national average of 52.3 percent. In Atlantic City, the rate was 59.4 percent.

It also shows that costs for care of people with Type 2 diabetes are higher in Philadelphia than in the other five markets profiled. In 2007, the average hospital inpatient charges for treating Type 2 diabetics was $95,813, almost twice as high as the national average of $49,870. Hospital outpatient charges were $6,168, while the national average was $4,673.

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