PHARMACY

NACDS’ Rosato gives Capitol area viewers tips for keeping compliant with their meds during the blizzard

BY Rob Eder

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ SVP pharmacy affairs, Edith Rosato, was featured Tuesday on the Washington, D.C., CBS affiliate, WUSA-Channel 9, as part of the station’s winter storm coverage.

Rosato was tapped for the segment for her ability to answer frequently asked questions related to patients managing their prescription drug therapies amid hazardous conditions.

Rosato’s appearance not only reemphasized the importance of medication adherence, it also was another strong indication of the success retail pharmacy leaders have had in recent months of demonstrating the considerable role community pharmacy has in improving patient adherence, and even more so, the considerable role of pharmacy in the overall U.S. healthcare delivery system.

This continues a string of successful coverage for community pharmacy, and for Rosato, who is emerging as a key, and very visible spokesperson for the industry, on topics ranging from H1N1 and the healthcare-reform debate. In January, Rosato appeared in two major articles that received national attention, first in The Washington Post and USA Today, each time addressing the transformation of the role of today’s community pharmacist.

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FDA approves expanded use of Crestor

BY Alaric DeArment

WILMINGTON, Del. The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new use for a cardiovascular drug made by AstraZeneca, the drug maker announced Monday.

The FDA approved Crestor (rosuvastatin calcium) for reducing the risk of stroke, heart attack and surgical restoration of blood flow – known as arterial revascularization – in patients without obvious coronary heart disease but an increased risk of cardiovascular disease based on age, presence of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and quantities of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in the blood of 2-mg per liter or more. Crestor already had approval for treating other cardiovascular health risks when used along with changes in diet.

“Not only is this approval a significant milestone for AstraZeneca, but it is also important for the patients who could now benefit from Crestor therapy under this approved indication,” AstraZeneca chief medical officer Howard Hutchinson stated.

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CMS: U.S. health spending hits $2.5 trillion as Rx costs reach $246 billion

BY Jim Frederick

WASHINGTON Healthcare spending in the United States climbed 5.7% to $2.5 trillion in 2009, despite the impact of a struggling economy, according to projections issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and published in the journal Health Affairs.

Healthcare expenditures now comprise 17.3% of the nation’s total gross domestic product, CMS estimated. Over the next decade, the agency predicted, health spending will jump at an average rate of 6.1% a year, versus a projected average annual gain of 4.4% for the overall GDP.

With more Americans losing their insurance and Medicaid enrollments rising, public spending for health care will continue to grow faster than health spending in the private sector, the government predicted.

The rise in total health costs was not quite matched by the growth of prescription drug spending, CMS economists estimated. Total prescription drug spending rose a projected 5.2% last year, the agency reported in Health Affairs, to a U.S. total of $246.3 billion.

That marks an accelerating trend for drug spending, according to the journal, which cited “an increase in per person use of drugs, driven by the need for antiviral drugs to treat H1N1, and by higher price growth in brand-name drugs.”

Long-term growth of both overall healthcare expenditures and the prescription drug market will continue at a steady clip, government analysts predict. CMS pegs total drug expenditures at $457.8 billion by 2019, Health Affairs reported, “with spending growth expected to accelerate over the projection period due primarily to increases in drug prices.”

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