This year's flu season, while still relatively low, is showing no signs of abating, Bloomberg reported Friday. "While the number of Americans going to the doctor for flu-like symptoms has risen steadily for the past two months, accounting for 3.5% of visits for the week ended March 5, the rate remains well below seasonal peaks in recent years," Bloomberg reported. "It is still gaining, however. At a time when the flu is typically starting to dissipate, it is now accounting for more visits at this time of year than during the last four seasons, according to CDC data." (Bloomberg)
The American Pharmacists Association has shown support for the new guideline encouraging physicians to first turn to non-opioid treatment for chronic pain outside cancer-related pain, palliative treatment and end-of-life care.
Increasingly, states are looking to address the prescription painkiller problem with as many as 375 proposals coursing through state legislatures that would regulated pain clinics and prescribing painkillers, The New York Times reported Friday. "The states are going to lead on this one because Big Pharma has too much power," Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, Democrat, told The New York Times. The New York Times added: "The pace of [legislative] activity in states has grown so intense that experts are having difficulty keeping track." (The New York Times)
GW Pharmaceuticals announced Monday that Epidiolex, an experimental drug derived from marijuana, has successfully reduced epileptic seizures in its first major clinical trial. According to the New York Times, the finding could lend credence to the medical marijuana movement. The New York Times reports that if Epidiolex wins regulatory approval, it would be the first prescription drug in the United States that is extracted from marijuana. Dravet syndrome is one of the most severe and difficult-to-treat types of epilepsy. (New York Times)
“Better care, smarter spending, healthier people.” Those were the goals set forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in September when it unveiled plans for a five-year federal experiment to gauge the effectiveness of expanded medication therapy management for Medicare patients.
The future of American health care could be summed up in one word — “connection.” To thrive in a fast-reforming healthcare system that demands better patient outcomes at a lower cost, pharmacies, physicians, hospitals, health systems, outpatient clinicians and diagnosticians are going to have to connect much more effectively, both with one another and with the patients they serve.
Going back at least to the mid-1800s, many community pharmacists have been given the informal title of “doc” or “doctor” by grateful local residents, particularly in smaller towns and rural communities where the local pharmacist might be the only health provider within miles. These days, the title is more than honorary; it’s a requirement.
The savings card is accepted at more than 60,000 pharmacies, FamilyWize said, including such major partners as Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart, Kmart, Publix, Costco, Albertsons and Safeway, Kroger and Sam’s Club.
For decades, the pharmacy profession labored under a widespread, but inaccurate, public perception of pharmacists as little more than dispensers of prescription medicines and givers of basic counseling on their use. No more. Pharmacists today are highly trained, clinically engaged patient-care specialists making a huge and rapidly growing impact on population health management in communities all over America.
With medication nonadherence leading to enormous health complications for millions of Americans — and generating staggering and needless cost spikes that add as much as $290 billion a year to the nation’s healthcare costs — the search for ways to get patients to take their prescription medicines as directed has become increasingly urgent.
Here’s a fact that keeps health plan administrators and anyone else responsible for budgeting health costs awake at night: 1-in-5 hospital patients ends up back in the hospital within 30 days of their discharge. And the biggest factors pulling them back all have to do with medications — either through medication errors, nonadherence or adverse drug events.