PHARMACY

Study finds fourfold increase in OxyContin prescriptions dispensed near U.S.-Canada border tunnel

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — The launch of a tamper-resistant formulation of a popular opioid painkiller in the United States, but not in Canada, may have influenced a spike in dispensing rate of the original at pharmacies in Canadian border cities, according to a study.

Researchers in Canada studies prescriptions dispensed from pharmacies at Niagara Falls, Windsor and Sarnia, Ontario, the cities with the highest volume of U.S.-Canada border crossings in the province. Analyzing data on outpatient prescriptions for Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin (oxycodone) extended-release tablets from April 2010 to February 2012, they calculated and compared monthly prescription rates, adjusted per 1,000 people. The study appeared online Tuesday in the Canadian journal Open Medicine.

The researchers found that the number of tablets dispensed near four border crossings in the three cities remained stable, but the rate of dispensing at pharmacies near the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel increased four-fold between August 2010 and February 2011, from 505 tablets per 1,000 people to 1,969, a number that declined to 1,683 in April 2011 following warnings to prescribers and pharmacies and then increasing again in November of that year. Overall, between August 2010 and October 2011, 242,075 "excess" tablets were dispensed near the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

According to published reports, the researchers were concerned about the effects that the launch of generic versions of OxyContin could have on health and safety as the drug, which remains a popular target for drug abusers and criminals, becomes more widespread.


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Abbott drug shows improvement in young adults with arthritis

BY Alaric DeArment

ABBOTT PARK, Ill. — Patients with a form of arthritis that affects young adults taking a drug made by Abbott experienced improvements in their condition after a year of treatment, according to late-stage clinical trial results.

Abbott announced Monday the first long-term patient-reported health outcomes data for the phase-3 "ABILITY-1" trial of Humira (adalimumab) in patients with nonradiographic axial spondyloarthritis, or nr-axSpA. Results of the trial were presented at the American College of Rheumatology’s annual scientific meeting in Washington.

The study showed that patients taking Humira experienced improvement in physical function and measures of health-related quality of life after 52 weeks.


 

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Duquesne’s Mylan School of Pharmacy students meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill

BY Michael Johnsen

PITTSBURGH — Nearly 160 students, faculty and staff from Duquesne University’s Mylan School of Pharmacy recently visited Capitol Hill to promote the role that pharmacists play in providing medication therapy management services, the university announced Tuesday.

Student pharmacists from the School of Pharmacy’s class of 2015 met with members from 37 U.S. House and Senate offices on Oct. 22 to demonstrate how pharmacist-provided medication therapy management services can improve patient healthcare outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.

“The trip was very successful,” stated Ben Andrick, president of the class of 2015. “The experience demonstrated that we do have a say and that we can have an impact on future practice."

The Mylan School of Pharmacy implemented an advocacy class trip for students in their second professional year as a graduation requirement for its Doctor of Pharmacy professional degree. In addition, with support provided by the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association, the student pharmacists participated in mock legislative visits to prepare for the Capitol Hill visit.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores provided logistical and informational support for the Duquesne students’ visit to Capitol Hill. NACDS director of government affairs and grassroots programs Heidi Ecker delivered a presentation on grassroots advocacy to the students. And Tom O’Donnell, NACDS VP federal government affairs, hosted an overview and briefing of the issues just prior to the Congressional visits.

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