NACDS tells House committee how pharmacy can fight opioid abuse
The House Energy and Commerce Committee has been looking into legislative solutions to the opioid crisis, and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores has highlighted pharmacy as a key player in curbing opioid abuse and misuse.
NACDS submitted comments to the committee during its recent hearing, “Combatting the Opioid Crisis, Improving the Ability of Medicare and Medicaid to Provide Care to Patients,” which assessed how Medicare and Medicaid could be brought to bear on the crisis.
“Retail community pharmacists are an underutilized component in helping to identify and treat those with opioid addiction as well as educating consumers on the dangers of opioid abuse and addiction,” NACDS said. “Recognizing the value pharmacists play as a member of the healthcare team and utilizing them at the top of their training would greatly benefit the battle against the opioid crisis.”
The organization noted that pharmacists already offer several services that can help fight abuse, including medication assisted treatment for patients with an opioid-use disorder and HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C screenings and immunizations, as well as the ability to offer naloxone – with pharmacies in various states offering the overdose-reversal drug without a prescription. The Surgeon General in early April urged all Americans to carry naloxone.
“NACDS thanks Surgeon General Adams for a very clear and effective message: carrying naloxone can help save the life of a loved one,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said when the Surgeon General made his suggestion. “Pharmacy’s commitment to fostering naloxone access has always been about helping to save lives, along with initiatives focused on abuse-prevention.
NACDS also offered the committee policy recommendations, including mandated e-prescribing of controlled substances, a nationwide prescription drug monitoring program and limiting initial opioid prescriptions for acute pain to a seven-day fill. With regard to Medicare-focused solutions, NACDS has supported HR 3528, the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act, which would require e-prescribing of all controlled substances in Medicare Part D.
“Pharmacists take very seriously their role in helping to ensure safe use of medications — but they cannot do it alone,” NACDS said. “We support a collaborative approach to curb prescription drug abuse and preserve patient access to their medically-necessary pain medications. We believe that there are a variety of ways to help curb prescription drug diversion, and chain pharmacies actively work on many initiatives to reduce this problem.”
Fresenius Kabi’s generic Cubicin launches
Fresenius Kabi has introduced its generic Cubicin (daptomycin for injection). The drug is an antibacterial indicated to treat complicated skin and skin structure infections in adults, as well as staph infections in the bloodstream in adults.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the generic Cubicin on April 11, Lake Zurich, Ill.-based Fresenius Kabi said. The generic is available in a single-dose, 500-mg bottle that the company said it would supply as a Novaplus private-label offering for members of Vizient.
Fresenius Kabi noted that it also offers daptomycin for injection through a third party under a previously approved application, and said it would continue to supply that option as well.
CVS Health names MinuteClinic chief medical officer
CVS Health has named Marc-David Munk chief medical officer of its MinuteClinic retail clinic business. Munk, who the company said will oversee MinuteClinic’s patient care efforts with a focus on clinical care, was most recently chief medical officer Boston-based health system Iora Health.
“We’re pleased that Marc-David Munk will be joining the healthcare leadership team at MinuteClinic and CVS Health,”CVS Health chief medical officer Troyen Brennan said. “Marc-David has an impressive background in health care and has demonstrated that he is a proven leader in the delivery of high-quality care. We believe that the knowledge and experience Marc-David will bring to MinuteClinic and to the overall CVS Health enterprise will not only lead to care delivery enhancements, but also to further innovation as we look for ways to expand and integrate health care services across our business.”
At Iora Health, which Munk joined in 2015, he restructured the organization’s care model, which included integrated behavioral health. Previously, he held leadership positions at the University of New Mexico Health System and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from Jefferson College and a Master of Public Health from Boston University, as well as a Master of Science in Health Care Management from Harvard.