PHARMACY

NYT board: Pharmacists, retail clinics, NPs can address gaps in care

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — What pharmacy lobbying groups and Drug Store News have been saying for a while has reached the mainstream.

The New York Times published an editorial over the weekend recommending that the country address its shortage of primary care doctors by relying more on other healthcare actors — such as pharmacists, nurse practitioners and patients themselves — as well as physician assistants and members of the community.

This isn’t news to the industry: the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and other pharmacy groups have been pushing this for years, and NACDS Foundation president Kathleen Jaeger has kept busy writing op-eds in national publications like USA Today and appearing in the news media to promote the value of retail pharmacy. Now the New York Times editorial board is saying the same thing.

The NACDS heralded the editorial’s publication.

"This New York Times editorial adds to the increasing recognition that face-to-face, pharmacist-provided services can complement the vital role of physicians in a team-based approach to patient health,” NACDS president and CEO Steven Anderson said.  “Doctors, pharmacists and other partners in emerging healthcare models each provide tremendous expertise and advantages. Their unique strengths and collaboration among them can benefit the patient and can help to advance the nation’s approach to healthcare delivery.”

In particular, the editorial cited a report by the chief pharmacist of the United States Public Health Service saying pharmacists are "remarkably underutilized" in terms of their potential to do things like educate members of the community, as well as their ability to start, stop and adjust medications. The retail clinic operations of Walgreens and CVS got a nod from the editors as well.

It likewise isn’t news to the millions of people who have received vaccinations from their local pharmacists or basic care at a retail clinic. But now, a major national newspaper is recognizing the value of the ways that health care is becoming more accessible, and that’s a clear indication that pharmacy retailers’ message — that their stores and retail clinics are destinations for health care — is sinking in with the general public.


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FDA approves GlaxoSmithKline’s raxibacumab for anthrax

BY Alaric DeArment

LONDON — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new biotech drug from GlaxoSmithKline for anthrax, the drug maker said.

GSK announced the approval of raxibacumab for adults and children who have inhaled Bacillus anthracis. The drug is designed for combination with antibiotics and for preventing inhalational anthrax when alternative therapies aren’t available. The drug is the result of a project that Human Genome Sciences, now owned by GSK, began working on in 2001 in response to terrorist anthrax attacks in the United States.

"Raxibacumab is an important part of an ongoing collaboration between GSK and the U.S. government to address a range of public health concerns," GSK SVP and head of infectious diseases Zhi Hong said. "It will be an important addition to the new approaches required to address our critical biodefense needs."


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NACDS recognizes U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan on behalf of pharmacy patient care

BY Antoinette Alexander

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores on Monday recognized U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) for her continued leadership on behalf of pharmacy patient care. Hagan, joined by seven U.S. Senate colleagues, sent a bipartisan letter of support for medication therapy management to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The letter urged inclusion of language in any end-of-year legislation that would allow seniors who suffer from any chronic disease to benefit from MTM services if the intervention could result in a cost savings to the Medicare program. Currently under Medicare Part D, seniors must have “multiple chronic conditions” and be prescribed “multiple medications” before they are eligible for MTM services.
 
“Only one-quarter of seniors currently has access to MTM, while many more can benefit from the service,” the letter stated. “Research shows that only 50% of patients properly adhere to their prescription drug therapy regimens, and poor adherence costs the nation approximately $290 billion a year, nearly 13% of total health expenditures.”
 
In the North Carolina “ChecKmeds” program, MTM helped 31,000 seniors optimize their drug therapy for a savings of $34 million — a return on investment of nearly 14-to-1.
 
“We believe the best way to make sure Americans use medications effectively is through professional services offered by pharmacists and other qualified healthcare providers, including ‘medication therapy management,’” the letter stated. “Evidence shows that MTM improves outcomes and reduces unnecessary medical costs.”
 
“As the sponsor of the Medication Therapy Management Empowerment Act, NACDS thanks Senator Hagan for her continued leadership and commitment to community pharmacy and patient care,” stated NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson.  “Community pharmacies can provide MTM services to help patients manage their health, especially for those who suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma or other conditions.” 

 

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