PHARMACY

Diplomat CEO receives Grant Thornton Leader & Innovator of the Year award

BY Alaric DeArment

FLINT, Mich. — Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy president and CEO Phil Hagerman has been named the Grant Thornton Leader & Innovator of the Year, Diplomat said Friday.

Hagerman was among 45 nominees for the award, announced Thursday night during a reception at Lawrence Technological University. The award receives sponsorship from tax audit and advisory firm Grant Thornton LLP, WWJ Newsradio 950 and the Great Lakes Innovation and Technology Report. The university developed the award program to recognize Michigan business executives involved in professions and industries expected to be key to the state’s economic future.

Diplomat recently moved into the former General Motors Great Lakes Technology Center in Flint, Mich., where it plans to spend $12 million to refurbish the building and hire 150 more workers before the end of the year.

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Study: Unintentional drug overdoses ‘epidemic’ driven by prescription opioid use

BY Alaric DeArment

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The number of unintentional deaths from overdosing on prescription opioid painkillers in 2007 was greater than those from heroin and cocaine combined, according to a new study by medical researchers at the University of North Carolina, Duke University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who in particular called such deaths among teenagers and adults a national epidemic.

About 27,500 people died from unintentional overdoses on the drugs in 2007, and in some 20 states, the number of drug poisoning deaths exceeds that of either car crashes or suicides, according to the study, published online in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

“It is very important to screen patients with chronic pain who may require opioid therapy for substance abuse and mental health problems, especially depression and other mood and anxiety disorders, and address these problems adequately,” the authors wrote.

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Rapport between pharmacist, patient can lead to better health outcomes

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — When the pharmacist talks, people listen. The real gem to come out of this survey is where that pharmacist is standing when delivering that over-the-counter recommendation. (Here’s a hint: It ain’t behind the pharmacy counter.)

(THE NEWS: Survey: Many pharmacists offer guidance on OTC purchases. For the full story, click here.)

When asked about which allergy remedy to take — or which pain reliever is best for those tension headaches or whether a patient can take one of those newfangled heartburn remedies, such as Prilosec OTC, Prevacid 24HR or Zegerid OTC, with the list of prescriptions they’re currently taking — the pharmacists are walking into the aisle, picking up a product and saying, “Here, you should use this because …”

That kind of interaction speaks volumes. It underscores the truth that pharmacists historically have been considered a trustworthy source of medicine information. But it also hints to another dynamic: Pharmacists enjoy engaging the consumer, so much so that they will take the time to walk a patient to an aisle and personally identify the product to be recommended.

That kind of engagement is not easily forgotten, at least not by that patient. That’s the kind of engagement that leads to knowing the pharmacist by name. That’s the kind of engagement that has many patients including their pharmacists in their healthcare dialogue. And that’s the kind of engagement that can set the stage for a much more substantial (and reimbursed) intervention, such as medication therapy management or disease-state management.

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