HEALTH

Cardinal Health announces expansion of training resource, succession planning

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK One of the modules included in Cardinal Health’s myPharmacyTrainer online training site is: “How to market vitamins and herbal supplements.”

 

That reinforces the value in supplementing overall. There are a lot of critics out there who like to take pot shots at the supplement industry for no other reason than it’s easy pickings, such as all of the professional baseball players who allege they didn’t know they were juicing on steroids because it may have been included in a supplement they were taking. And while that clouds use of sports nutritionals, mostly, those criticisms also are usually accompanied by an ill-informed opinion that supplements are wholly unregulated. So countering those inaccurate suggestions with a recommendation of use from a trusted healthcare professional helps mitigate that public-relations-style damage to the industry.

 

And it’s a customer service. Educating your customers around supplementing and basing any recommendations on sound science only can mean healthier customers in the long run. And isn’t that the real reason many pharmacists and pharmacy technicians stand behind the counter in the first place?

Along with being a customer service, it doesn’t hurt that any successful, health-boosting sell also helps improve the health of the pharmacy through greater profit margins as compared with the prescription-drug side of the business. It’s a “Did you know?” opportunity. For example, did you know that use of antibiotics actually kills the good bacteria with the bad? And that could mean enough change in your gut flora for even a few weeks after antibiotic use that it can inhibit the digestion and absorption of other nutrients that your body needs. Taking a probiotic a few hours after the antibiotic can help prevent that.

Or did you know that statin therapy is well-known to deplete coenzyme Q10, a nutrient that helps prevent congestive heart disease and saps a person’s energy?

Beyond nutrient depletions associated with many popular prescription-drug therapies, there are a host of other health benefits associated with supplementing.

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Medication adherence report reveals need for patient-specific interventions

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK Boehringer Ingelheim has done a major service to the industry with the release of this report. Closing the gap on patient compliance and adherence remains not only the best opportunity for retail pharmacy to grow the business at a time of waning big blockbuster drug introductions and continued pressure from generic competition, but also represents the best opportunity for this industry to “show what it’s got,” as the entire nation turn its attention to health reform.

 

Hundreds of billions of healthcare dollars are spent needlessly as a result of people not taking their medications as they are supposed to, to say nothing of the toll it’s taking on patient outcomes.

 

Reading between the lines here, one of the big reasons behind non-compliance could very well be the state of the economy. A public opinion poll of 1,025 adults conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in mid-July found that 49% of Americans are still taking cost-cutting measures when it comes to their healthcare: 33% are shifting to medicines available over-the-counter in favor of a doctor’s visit; 21% skipped a doctor-recommended medical test or treatment because of cost; and 15% cut prescription doses in half or skipped doses in an effort to stretch their medicines. And taking those kinds of cost-cutting measures — saving a co-pay today but risking an emergency room visit tomorrow — only helps to amplify the important role a pharmacist can play in helping their patients navigate cost-saving strategies in an effort to maintain/boost compliance.

“All of those things…are happening,” Ted Epperly, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, told Drug Store News in the fall following a similar Kaiser survey, and its cutting deeper than just the working poor, he said. Patients who would fall into lower- and middle-income status are making similar cost-cutting decisions.

Also already happening is that pharmacist interceding on the patient’s behalf to help mitigate prescription-drug costs. “We’ve found that physicians were particularly receptive to calling on a patient’s behalf and giving suggestions on how that patient could save money, especially if it was a matter of a patient either not taking that medication at all or taking something [else] to address their condition,” Douglas Hoey, SVP and COO for the National Community Pharmacy Association, told Drug Store News this past fall.

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Study: Stomach bugs increase risk of IBD

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Diarrheal disease may increase a person’s risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease, according to a study published in Gastroenterology.

IBD refers to a group of conditions, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, marked by chronic inflammation in the intestines, leading to such symptoms as abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Henrik Nielsen, M.D., from Aarhaus University Hospital in Aalborg, Denmark, and colleagues reported in the latest issue of the journal that over the course of 7.5 years, IBD was diagnosed for the first time in far more gastroenteritis patients 1.2% of patients were diagnosed with IBD, compared with 0.5% of healthy control subjects.

Nielsen and colleagues compared the risks of IBD between 13,148 patients with documented gastroenteritis caused by salmonella or campylobacter and 26,216 uninfected controls.

Stomach bug patients had nearly a threefold increased risk of developing IBD over the entire study period, and nearly a twofold increased risk in the first year after infection.

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