PHARMACY

Survey: Consumers listen to pharmacists for OTC buys

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON —Pharmacists believe that 82% of consumers purchase over-the-counter products that actually were recommended to them by a pharmacist, according to the most recent “Pharmacy Today Over-the-Counter Product Survey” conducted by the American Pharmacists Association.

The survey, completed by more than 1,000 APhA member and nonmember pharmacists, also found that pharmacists counsel 29 patients on average per week around the use of nonprescription medicines. Patients who seek their pharmacist’s advice include patients requiring assistance in identifying the most appropriate product (90%), patients that are worried about using an OTC product with other prescription medications (80%), patients suffering from an acute or chronic condition (79%) and patients worried about taking OTC products with a specific disease/condition (65%).

“Pharmacists are the medication experts on the healthcare team,” stated Thomas Menighan, APhA CEO. “[They] are trained not only about prescription medications, but also nonprescription medications, supplements and herbals.”

One of APhA’s goals in conducting the annual “Pharmacy Today Over-the-Counter Product Survey” is to educate consumers that pharmacists have the knowledge and training to help them select the right OTC medications. As part of the survey, pharmacists are asked to tabulate the OTC products they recommend per week in 76 different product categories.

As part of the survey, pharmacists were asked how many times per week they had recommended each product. Those brands that indexed higher than 60% among pharmacist recommendations included: Procter & Gamble’s Crest Whitestrips (87%); GlaxoSmithKline’s Breathe Right (74%); Amerifit Brands’ AZO Test Strips (UTI test) (72%); Church & Dwight’s First Response (ovulation test kits) (70%); McNeil Consumer’s Sudafed (70%); Omron blood pressure monitors (70%); and Reckitt Benckiser’s Mucinex family of products (63%).

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Pennsylvania boosts pharmacists’ role; NACDS hails bid for collaboration

BY Jim Frederick

ALEXANDRIA, Va. In a gesture hailed by retail pharmacy advocates, the Keystone State is moving to expand the role its pharmacists play in improving patient health and outcomes.

The move comes with enactment of a Pennsylvania law, H.B. 1041, which will open new opportunities for collaborative medication therapy management between physicians and pharmacists on behalf of patients in a community pharmacy setting. Previously, such team approaches were permitted only in such institutional settings as hospitals and nursing homes in the state. 

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores had high praise for the new law, calling it an “important victory,” and citing the efforts made by the Pennsylvania Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association toward its passage. “With the enactment of this legislation, Pennsylvania has said ‘yes’ to improving the health and lives of patients, and to reducing overall healthcare costs,” said NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson. “This new law recognizes the expertise of pharmacists, the accessibility of community pharmacy and the ability of pharmacists to help patients properly manage their health conditions for the well-being of patients and for the good of society.”

Pennsylvania is the 33rd state to allow collaborative drug therapy management in the community setting, according to NACDS research. “Nine states allow it in institutional settings only, and eight do not allow it at all,” noted the group Friday.

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Taro receives FDA approval for Kytril generic

BY Alaric DeArment

HAWTHORNE, N.Y. Taro Pharmaceutical Industries has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market its generic version of a drug used to prevent nausea and vomiting in patients on chemotherapy, the Israeli generic drug maker said Friday.

The FDA approved Taro’s granisetron hydrochloride tablets in the 1-mg strength. The tablets are a generic version of Roche’s Kytril tablets.

Granisetron tablets had sales of around $15 million in 2009, according to unnamed industry sources cited by Taro.

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