PHARMACY

NCPA submits comments to House committee debating H.R. 1946

BY Michael Johnsen

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Thursday submitted written comments to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet hearing on H.R. 1946, the Preserving Our Hometown Independent Pharmacies Act, in support of the bill.

H.R. 1946, which was introduced by Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., allows independent community pharmacy owners to collectively negotiate the terms and conditions of contracts with pharmacy benefit managers. It now has more than 30 bipartisan co-sponsors, NCPA reported. The current system precludes collective negotiations, oftentimes forcing independent community pharmacies to either accept contract terms or be excluded from the pharmacy insurance networks patients use.

In its statement, NCPA describes the problem and why a solution is needed by saying, “While PBMs make record profits, independent pharmacies are being driven out of business, and patients and communities suffer. Ultimately, the cost of the imbalance of negotiating power is borne by us all — by patients, by employers, by health plans — both public and private — and by taxpayers. This legislation would be a response, among others, to this significant market imbalance and its enactment will benefit both consumers and competition.”
 
In addition, NCPA commended two of its members — Renardo Gray, owner of Westside Pharmacy of Detroit, and Mike James, owner of Person Street Pharmacy in Raleigh, N.C. — who testified in support of H.R. 1946.


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PHARMACY

American Diabetes Association debuts new diabetes risk test

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In line with the 24th annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day, the American Diabetes Association debuted its new and improved diabetes risk test.

Updated with a more sophisticated algorithm and available on Facebook, the test can be taken in less than a minute and easily shared with family, friends and loved ones, ADA said. The test requires users to answer simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risk factors for diabetes. Their results are reported as a numerical score indicating low or high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Those at higher risk are encouraged to speak with their healthcare provider to learn more about ways to help reduce their risk or delay onset of the disease.

In addition to Facebook, people can find this free test (in English or Spanish) by visiting stopdiabetes.com or calling 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383).

"The more people who take this first step in knowing their risk, the closer we will become to stopping this disease that has reached epidemic proportions," said Geri Spollett, president- elect of health care and education at the American Diabetes Association. "The time to act is now. Taking one quick minute to learn your risk today could lead to a much healthier tomorrow."


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Study suggests metformin may help prevent heart disease

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — A commonly prescribed diabetes drug also may have the capability of protecting the heart, according to a Swedish study.

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy, in collaboration with a research group from Naples, found that when metformin was prescribed to rats in a preliminary study, the drug also had a protective effect on the heart by helping increase pumping capacity, improving energy balance, reducing the accumulation of fat and limiting the loss of heart cells through programmed cell death. This compared with other animals, which did not experience positive effects on the heart when given metformin.

The study results were published in the journal Diabetes.

"The animals in our study were treated with metformin for a whole year, so the effect seems to persist," said Jörgen Isgaard, the researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy who led the Swedish research group involved in the study. "Our results nevertheless strengthen the indication for metformin as a diabetes medicine and we hope that they are now followed up with studies on actual patients."


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