PHARMACY

Pharmacy Technician Certification Board touts telepharmacy

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — Technology is helping pharmacies provide services to rural areas by allowing them to remotely monitor pharmacy technicians, according to the country’s largest organization that certifies pharmacy techs.

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board said "telepharmacy" allows a pharmacy tech to be supervised remotely in real time by a pharmacist and prepare prescriptions. Boards of pharmacy in several states have begun adopting regulations that allow for telepharmacy, including those in Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Idaho, Utah and Hawaii.

"Telepharmacy expands patient access to pharmacy consultations and vital healthcare services in rural and medically underserved areas," PTCB executive director and CEO Everett McAllister said. "PTCB-certified pharmacy technicians play a significant role in this safe and cost-effective alternative, providing patients with maximum coverage."

Recently, the Kansas State Board of Pharmacy adopted regulations that allow state-licensed pharmacists to electronically supervise one pharmacy technician or pharmacy student in a licensed pharmacy at a medical facility in the state, with the techs performing typical duties, such as reviewing cart fills and filling automated dispensing cabinets with the pharmacist observing the procedures through a real-time audio, video or computer connection.


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PHARMACY

Wolters Kluwer launches mobile app edition of Nursing Drug Handbook

BY Alaric DeArment

AMBLER, Pa. — Wolters Kluwer Health has introduced what it called the first mobile application for the Nursing Drug Handbook, the company said Thursday.

Published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, the app is available for Apple and Android devices and is a mobile version of the popular reference for nurses that includes weekly updates.

"The Nursing Drug Handbook app improves the quality of care that nurses can give at bedside due to its combination of mobility, speed and current information," Lippincott Williams & Wilkins chief nurse for professional and education Judith McCAnn said. "Because of these benefits and because it is designed specifically for nurses, we believe it will quickly become the top drug app used by nurses."

The app includes nursing-specific drug information that allows nurses to search rapidly for information on 965 generic and more than 1,500 branded drugs, including information not found in the print edition. The app, available on iTunes for $44.99, also includes almost 900 drug monographs on more than 2,500 branded and generic drugs, and more than 400 pill images.

In other news, Wolters Kluwer Health announced the sale of its healthcare analytics business, Source Healthcare Analytics, to Symphony Technology Group, which will combine it with ImpactRx to form Symphony Health Solutions. The company will focus on delivering data, analytics and other services to manufacturers, payers and providers. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

 


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FDA approves generic versions of Plavix

BY Alaric DeArment

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration has approved generic versions of one of the country’s top-selling drugs made by eight different companies, the agency said Thursday.

The FDA announced the approval of the 75-mg and 300-mg formulations of clopidogrel bisulfate, the generic form of the drug Plavix, made by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi. Apotex Corp., Aurobindo Pharma, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Roxane Labs, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Torrent Pharmaceuticals won approval to market the 75-mg formulation, while Teva, Mylan and Gate Pharmaceuticals will make the 300-mg formulation. Dr. Reddy’s also received FDA approval for the 75-mg and 300-mg strengths, including exclusivity for the latter.

The drug is a blood-thinning agent used to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by preventing platelets in the blood from clumping together to form clots.

With $6.8 billion in sales, Plavix was the second top-selling drug in 2011 after Pfizer’s cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor (atorvastatin calcium), according to IMS Health. Lipitor lost patent protection in November 2011.


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