Paperless prescribing hits milestone
NEW YORK Surescripts’ announcement that more than 100,000 physicians have jumped aboard the e-prescribing bandwagon is an important milestone for the industry as one of the major hurdles for e-prescribing has been physician adoption.
As stated in the article, by the end of 2008, there were 74,000 doctors actively prescribing electronically, compared with 36,000 at the end of 2007. This means that physician adoption has increased more than 100% between 2008 and 2007.
What’s even more important is that these numbers will likely ramp up quickly in light of incentives created under the Medicare reform and HIT stimulus.
In fact, a recent Pharmaceutical Care Management Association study found that financial incentives for physicians to adopt health information technology included in the recent economic stimulus bill will increase the number of prescribers using electronic prescribing to more than 75% over the next five years — nearly double the rate of use anticipated after passage of last year’s e-prescribing legislation.
The study also found that e-prescribing will help prevent 3.5 million medication errors and save the federal government $22 billion in drug and medical costs over the next 10 years.
“E-prescribing saves lives, lowers costs and will substantially finance the government?s overall HIT investment in the new stimulus law,” stated PCMA president and CEO Mark Merritt in announcing the study findings.
It should also be noted that a ramp up in e-prescribing could have an impact on top-line pharmacy sales as more scripts reach the pharmacy counter.
Chill International launches cooling towel for hot flashes, night sweats
KEY WEST, Fla. Chill International on Thursday announced the launch of a new menopausal cooling towel, called Chill Cooling Towels, which provides relief for hot flashes and night sweats.
The Chill Towels were first introduced in many Walgreens in Florida this spring, the company reported.
“Initial consumer response has been overwhelming,” stated Allan Wimer, Chill CEO. “Consumers love the fact that the towels do not need to be chilled and are genuinely amazed at how long the towel’s cooling sensation lasts,” he said. “In fact, consumer tests indicate the cooling sensation lasts up to 2-3 hours depending on climate conditions.”
The towels are available in three sizes.
FDA to expand Plan B availability to 17-year-olds
ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday informed Duramed Research, manufacturer of Plan B, that it may market the emergency contraceptive without a prescription to women age 17 years and older, following submission and approval of the appropriate application.
Currently, the emergency contraceptive Plan B is available behind the pharmacy counter for women over the age of 18, but as a prescription-only product for women 17 years old and younger.
The FDA decision came within the 30 days mandated by a federal court to permit the Plan B drug sponsor to make Plan B available to women 17 and older without a prescription.
“The government will not appeal this decision,” the FDA stated. “In accordance with the court’s order, and consistent with the scientific findings made in 2005 by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, FDA notified the manufacturer of Plan B informing the company that it may … market Plan B without a prescription to women 17 years of age and older.”
Plan B is manufactured by Duramed Research, which was acquired by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries in December as part of its acquisition of Barr Pharmaceuticals.