PHARMACY

American Diabetes Association announces new research grant for diabetes technology

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The American Diabetes Association announced that it will fund research that will examine the effectiveness of technology-based diabetes management devices.

The studies, funded by the American Diabetes Association/Medtronic Technology in Diabetes Fellowship, will utilize Medtronic’s CareLink database — a database of anonymous continuous glucose monitoring and insulin pump-derived data — to assess, evaluate and correlate the application of this and similar technologies used by patients with insulin-treated diabetes.

"Research like this will help us better understand patient behavior," American Diabetes Association’s president of medicine and science Robert Henry said. "In the long run, this research can help influence future diabetes technology and shape how we educate people with diabetes."

Those interested in applying for the research grant can visit the website here.

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NCPA bands together with legislators to communicate value of pharmacy

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — More than 350 independent pharmacists will be rallying with legislators in the halls of Congress Wednesday to help communicate the value pharmacists contribute to health care and to advocate for specific legislative initiatives as part of the 2011 Legislative and Government Affairs Conference of the National Community Pharmacists Association.

“The theme this year is more competition, more choice and more access for patients to their community pharmacists,” John Coster, NCPA SVP government affairs, said during a press conference call Tuesday afternoon.

On the agenda: communicating the challenges independents face both as small healthcare providers and small businesses, and advocating for legislation that will make the marketplace more competitive and will field better service providers.

NCPA also will be pitching congressional leaders on joining NCPA’s pharmacy caucus. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., and Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., will co-lead the caucus in the House, Coster said. In the Senate, Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., will lead the caucus.

“We’ve generally, not to this point, had a caucus in the Senate,” Coster said. “That shows the increasing visibility community pharmacy has on Capitol Hill and the importance that members of Congress place on our role in the healthcare system.”

As for legislation, NCPA is lobbying support for the Pharmacy Competition and Consumer Choice Act, which will help level the playing field between retail pharmacy and mail-order pharmacy, and the Medicare Access to Diabetes Supplies Act, which will exempt independent pharmacists from competitive bidding requirements in the sale of diabetes supplies.

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Chain pharmacy shares Senate subcommittee’s concerns over Rx abuse

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced that it submitted on Tuesday a statement to the Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism for the "Responding to the Prescription Drug Epidemic: Strategies for Reducing Abuse, Misuse, Diversion and Fraud" hearing.

"NACDS and the chain pharmacy industry share the committee’s concerns with the problems of prescription drug abuse, misuse, diversion and fraud. We believe that there are a variety of ways to help curb these unfortunate activities, and chain pharmacies actively support many initiatives to reduce the incidence of these activities," NACDS wrote in its statement.

The statement outlined ways that pharmacy can help curb these problems, including pharmacy’s support for controlled substance prescription monitoring programs, utilization of medication therapy management services, efforts to prevent illegitimate Internet drug sellers from selling drugs to consumers and providing patients with means for disposal of their unwanted medications.

Pharmacy has a long-standing commitment in helping to prevent and curb prescription drug diversion and abuse, NACDS noted. The association recently sent a letter to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in support of the administration’s strategy to prevent and reduce prescription drug diversion and misuse following the release of the office’s report, "Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis." In addition, last month NACDS submitted a statement to a House of Representatives panel highlighting pharmacy’s commitment in partnering with law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders to help prevent and combat prescription drug diversion and misuse.

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