Colorectal cancer rates increasing in young adults
NEW YORK Despite overall declining rates of colorectal cancer in the United States, recent studies show that the number of adults with colorectal cancer younger than 50 years old is increasing.
Rising obesity rates and changes in diet, including a higher intake of fast food and red meat, are said to be possible causes for the increase. According to a study posted in the June 2009 issue of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, further evidence is needed to confirm causes for the trend and to determine possible prevention and early detection strategies.
Since the mid 1980s, colorectal cancer rates in individuals 50 years and older have been decreasing, most prominently in recent years thanks to a rise in routine cancer screenings. The colorectal cancer rate has declined by 2.8% amongst men and 2.2% amongst women annually.
On the contrary, the rate of colorectal cancer found in individuals 50 years and younger, who do not generally go for routine screenings, is increasing. A study led by Rebecca Siegel at the American Cancer Society looked at data from 1992 to 2005 involving individuals 20 to 49 and found that incidence rates of colorectal cancer increased 1.5% per year in men and 1.6% per year in women. Young adults ages 20 to 29 years were found to face the most substantial increase in colorectal cancer.
Calif. Senate passes pseudoephedrine bill, receives opposition from CHPA
NEW YORK Attempting to curtail methamphetamine production by more or less eliminating the precursor ingredient pseudoephedrine from the market is kind of like throwing out the baby with the bathwater. PSE is a legitimate self-care option that is, according to general consensus, more effective than the other cough-cold decongestant on the market — phenylephrine. And restricting access to that self-care option hurts legitimate consumers more than it does meth cooks. But more on that in a second.
The fact of the matter is it may be a mistake to force consumers into a doctor’s office for more-effective cold-symptom relief, especially at a time when physician access is already an issue and the cost surrounding that physician access — including the office visit and the prescription-drug cost, not to mention the time — is a top concern among consumers.
The reality of the matter is that the 36.8 million California residents, who comprise 12.1% of the U.S. population and make up approximately 11.7% of national retail sales, may just simply buy less PSE. At best that means the average cold sufferer will suffer slightly more from their symptoms. At worst, it means that suffering will translate into more sick days utilized and lower productivity statewide.
Another significant consequence is the cost that would be borne by retailers and manufacturers, both in lost PSE sales and an added cost in detailing doctors around a decongestant that’s been available OTC for quite some time.
So here’s the kicker — further restricting access to PSE by reverse switching it to prescription-only status may not have any greater impact on the production, sale or abuse of meth than the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005. To be sure, CMEA did have a significant impact — the number of meth-related lab seizures in the Southwest region plummeted from 1,178 in 2004 to 155 last year, citing National System Seizure data through Nov. 4. While lab seizures were down, meth use remained constant — meth-addicts just sourced their drug of choice from somewhere else.
Mexico had become that primary source of meth to U.S. users through mid-2008, which is about the time that country began cracking down on the distribution of the meth precursor PSE. So now the practice of “smurfing,” buying the legal limit in PSE across adjacent pharmacies, is again becoming prevalent in Southwest states like California. And for that, there is already a solution that would maintain OTC access to legitimate cold sufferers — the electronic logbook.
Select Jewel-Osco pharmacies to offer special services to support hospice care
NEW YORK The news that Supervalu’s Jewel-Osco pharmacies have signed a contract with Passages Hospice to expedite medications and streamline care is important because it is yet another clear indicator that retail pharmacy is expanding its role in today’s U.S. healthcare system.
This contract allows nursing staff to pick up medications and/ or supplies at the Jewel-Osco pharmacy close to the Passages Hospice office in Elgin, Ill., or other locations, and then dispense to Passages’ patients statewide. Also, family members can go to any Jewel-Osco, identify themselves as a Passages Hospice client, select the medical supplies they need and Passages covers the cost.
Previously, the ordering of medications, processing payments, along with pick-up and delivery were inefficient and time-consuming, and often required multiple phone calls and repetitive paperwork.
There’s no doubt that the landscape of retail pharmacy is changing in light of the nation’s overburdened healthcare system and its battle with rising costs and patients’ lack of access to care.
For example, CVS Caremark now defines itself as a pharmacy healthcare service company and is leveraging its immense prescription database and its robust network of retail-based clinics to help keep Americans healthy and drive down costs for patients, employers and payers.
Meanwhile, Walgreens is expanding its presence in hospital pharmacy and its number of locations now stand at nearly 100, and, like CVS, is also leveraging its network of retail-based clinics and worksite pharmacies to enhance access to care, as well as its growing presence in specialty pharmacy, mail order and home infusion.