PHARMACY

Study finds continued overprescribing of antibiotics

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — Doctors have continued prescribing antibiotics for mild conditions that don’t require them despite decades of efforts by government authorities to discourage the practice, according to a new study.

The study, conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, published online in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine and presented last week at IDWeek, found that while only 10% of adults with sore throats have strep throat — a bacterial infection — the rate of prescriptions of antibiotics for the condition has remained at 60%; for acute bronchitis, the rate was 73%, even though the appropriate rate of antibiotic prescriptions for that condition should be "near 0%."

"We know that antibiotic prescribing, particularly to patients who are not likely to benefit from it, increases the prevalence of antibiotic-resistance, a growing concern both here in the United States and around the world," Brigham and Women’s physician and researcher and senior study author Jeffrey Linder said.

The study was based on a measurement of changes in antibiotic prescribing for adults with sore throat and acute bronchitis using nationally representative surveys of ambulatory care in the United States from 1996 to 2010, representing 39 million visits to primary care clinics or emergency departments due to acute bronchitis and 92 million visits due to sore throat. The lack of change in prescriptions occurred despite a reduction in the number of visits to primary care offices for sore throat between 1997 and 2010. During roughly the same period, emergency room visits for sore throat remained unchanged, while acute bronchitis visits increased.

 

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PHARMACY

Mass. House passes bill to increase regulations for compounding pharmacies

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — State representatives in Massachusetts have unanimously passed a bill that would allow patients to check the safety records of compounding pharmacies there, according to published reports.

The Boston Globe reported that the state Senate would take up a bill that would require the publishing of the pharmacies’ safety records in light of the nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak last year linked to the New England Compounding Center. The bill would also require pharmacists who prepare sterile drugs to take continuing education classes.

The outbreak, in which more than 700 people in 20 states became sick and more than 60 died, has resulted in calls for greater state and federal regulations. Last month, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association and the Generic Pharmaceutical Association expressed support for the Drug Quality and Security Act, which would extend federal oversight over compounding pharmacies.

 

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National Health Systems introduces pharmacy division aimed at independents

BY Alaric DeArment

FORT WORTH, Texas — The parent company of pharmacy software maker PDX has formed a new division to provide independent pharmacies with software and services, which it said would create portable, interoperable healthcare data.

National Health Systems announced Monday the creation of the Community Pharmacy Division within PDX and fellow NHS company National Health Information Network. The new offerings will allow independents’ patients to share electronic healthcare data with other pharmacies and their providers.

Though PDX will continue to offer support and enhancements to its Classic Pharmacy System, it also announced the new PDX Community Pharmacy System for independents, developed with technology used in the PDX Enterprise Pharmacy System and RapidFill, which is currently installed in more than 1,200 chain pharmacies and planned for an additional 3,200.

Features in the new system include the latest in prescription filling and pharmacy management technology; a patient-centric web engine for each pharmacy, hosted in the PDX data centers in Dallas and Forth Worth, Texas; an interface to the new Rx.com Community Healthcare Network and Rx.com CareRx Software; a new Nursing Home application; a new point-of-sale application; NHIH Community Pharmacy AssistRx Third-Party Reconciliation; and NHIN Community Pharmacy Access Data File Standardization.

"I started my career as a community pharmacist in a small, west Texas town and was the pharmacy consultant for both nursing homes in the little town, as well as the county hospital," NHS founder and chairman Ken Hill said. "Independent community pharmacists have always been involved in their communities, and there are almost 8,000 rural communities that do not have a major drug chain offering retail clinic healthcare services within 100 miles of them. I firmly believe that the independent community pharmacies in these towns can and will develop healthcare centers to service patients in their areas with vaccinations, MTM services and so on, including lab services in some cases and chronic disease care plans that payers are already implementing in many urban populations."

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