PHARMACY

Study finds antidepressants may pose higher risk of recurrent breast cancer

BY Anna Mcgrath

ORLANDO Recent studies showed several selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors reduced the effectiveness of the breast cancer drug tamoxifen when used concurrently.

According to Medco Health Solutions, three commonly used SSRIs — Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline) — all belong to a group of drugs known as CYP2D6 inhibitors. Such antidepressants prescribed in conjunction with tamoxifen posed a higher risk for recurrent breast cancer, Medco concluded.

“We’ve known that these CYP2D6 inhibitor drugs block the activation of tamoxifen chemically, but this is the first time there’s evidence that these drugs are putting women at a much higher risk for recurrent breast cancer,” said Robert Epstein, Medco’s chief medical officer and one of the study researchers. “It’s also the first time that a comparative analysis has been done looking at various SSRIs and what’s clear is that several of these drugs are extremely risky for women to take with tamoxifen, while others don’t present a problem.”

With nearly 30% of the 500,000 women taking tamoxifen in the U.S. using an antidepressant as well, Medco has been actively working to alert physicians and patients.

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NCPA survey: Accreditation requirements hinders pharmacists from offering DME equipment

BY Drug Store News Team

NEW YORK Almost one-third of those community pharmacists who already offered DMEPOS services responded that they would cease delivering Medicare services if Congress doesn’t act soon.

 

That should be a wake-up call for Congress.

 

 

The reality is the number of community pharmacies that would no longer supply products like diabetes test strips to their Medicare patients is a lot closer to 90% of all community pharmacies, or approximately 20,000 pharmacies, more or less, given that only one in 10 are currently accredited under Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services guidelines, the fact that the accreditation deadline is only five months away and it takes on average more than six months to become accredited.

 

 

To be sure, the survey is a sample of about 1,000 self-reporting pharmacists and there may be a good number of community pharmacists currently pursuing accreditation not included in the 10%, but the bare fact remains that the vast majority of community pharmacies aren’t accredited and will decline to become accredited come Oct. 1.

 

 

What does it all mean? To quote Bruce Roberts, NCPA EVP & CEO, it means “the current policy could prevent patients, especially in underserved areas [such as rural communities], from accessing medical supplies that help navigate health challenges such as controlling diabetes.”

 

 

Approximately 17.9% of all Medicare households are located in rural communities, according to a Kaiser Foundation report released in February, which means that almost one in five of all Medicare recipients may have greater difficulty accessing their testing supplies.

 

 

And that should be a bigger wake-up call for Congress, as well as their Medicare-eligible constituents.

 

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NCPA survey: Accreditation requirements hinder pharmacists from offering DME

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. A survey of National Community Pharmacists Association members found that almost one-third (31%) of independent pharmacist-owners in the DMEPOS business would cease offering durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies to their Medicare patients if new accreditation mandates take effect on Oct. 1.

That includes diabetes supplies.

“Pharmacists have been unfairly singled out for this accreditation rule, but patients will be the ones who truly lose out if this isn’t changed,” stated Bruce Roberts, NCPA EVP and CEO. “These findings illustrate that the current policy could prevent patients, especially in underserved areas, from accessing medical supplies that help navigate health challenges, such as controlling diabetes. We hope Congress will act swiftly with the accreditation deadline fast approaching.”

For those independents currently not in the DMEPOS business, mandated accreditation would significantly deter 67% of those respondents from participating in the future.

Currently, only 1-in-10 community pharmacies currently providing DMEPOS have become accredited. The accreditation fees, training and implementation costs are projected to total at least $5,000 to $7,000, over three years, which is cost prohibitive for many pharmacists.

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