HEALTH

PTCB to FSA holders: OTCs are still eligible expenses

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board on Tuesday announced a push to inform patients with practical solutions on how to best utilize remaining 2011 flexible spending account funds.

"The Department of Labor estimates that American families spend $185 per year on OTC medications," stated Megan Sheahan, PTCB director of professional affairs. "Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians play an active role in communicating to patients and families that, in addition to being an affordable and accessible component of health care, OTC medications are often eligible for FSA reimbursement with a prescription."

Employees who contribute to FSAs usually must use all of the funds by the end of the plan year or "lose" that non-taxed money altogether. In years past, most OTC medicines were eligible for reimbursement without a prescription, the Affordable Care Act — which went into effect Jan. 1 — established a new standard, classifying many OTCs as eligible for reimbursement but only with a prescription from a physician.

"Medicine Shoppe and Medicap pharmacy teams are committed to helping patients make smart health decisions for themselves and their families, including helping patients make the best use of their flexible healthcare spending accounts," stated John Fiacco, VP and general manager of Medicine Shoppe and Medicap pharmacies. "Pharmacy registers at many Medicine Shoppe and Medicap pharmacies are even equipped with the latest FSA-approved product information, to help patients understand which products qualify for their flexible spending accounts."


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‘Pharmacist Sentiment Report’ gets inside the heads of today’s busiest pharmacists

BY DSN STAFF

NEW YORK — What new prescription and OTC drugs are top of mind among retail pharmacists? How often do pharmacists REALLY recommend private label? Market Research Solutions asked those questions and more to a panel of more than 200 retail pharmacists from leading chains for its "2011 Pharmacist Sentiment Report" (click here).

Compiled from phone interviews with practicing pharmacists from chains such as Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Target and Walmart, the 32-page report is loaded with exclusive charts and data that provide a clear and concise picture of what today’s pharmacists think about current topics and trends, including —

• new Rx and OTC drugs that are front of mind.
• recent private label recommendation activity.
• most common patient questions.
• recent product inventory issues.
• obstacles and opportunities to better serve patients.
• what they’re doing to improve patient adherence and clinical outcomes, and more.

Responses are measured both in survey totals, as well as broken out by chain. To download a copy of the report, click here.

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Study: Quitting smoking could breathe new happiness into life

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Compared with those who continue to smoke, quitters are both happier and more satisfied with their health, both one year and three years afterward, than those who continue to smoke, according to new research published last week in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Smokers hold strong beliefs about how stopping smoking will reduce their quality of life. Positive experiences of smoking cessation, including improved well-being, could be used by clinicians to educate and motivate individuals to stop smoking.

The authors assessed overall quality of life, health-related quality of life, positive versus negative emotions, relationship satisfaction and occurrence of stressors among 1,504 smokers taking part in a smoking-cessation trial in the United States. Smoking status and quality of life were assessed at both one year and three years post-smoking cessation.

Quality of life measures included health, self-regard, philosophy of life, standard of living, work, recreation, learning, creativity, social service, love relationship, friendships, relationships with children, relationships with relatives, home, neighborhood and community.

"This research provides substantial evidence that quitting smoking benefits well-being compared [with] continuing smoking," stated lead researcher Megan Piper of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. "Smokers might believe that quitting will decrease life satisfaction or quality of life because they believe it disrupts routines, interferes with relationships, leads to a loss of smoking-related pleasure or because cessation deprives them of a coping strategy. Our findings suggest that over the long-term, individuals will be happier and more satisfied with their lives if they stop smoking than if they do not."

 


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