PHARMACY

CRN: Farm Bill offers promise for hemp, lacks VMS SNAP measure

BY Sandra Levy

With the Farm Bill — the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 — headed to the president’s desk, one aspect of it is particularly promising to the supplement industry. The Council for Responsible Nutrition responded with praise for the provision of the bill that legalizes hemp and creates a pathway to bring hemp and its byproducts — including cannabidiol — to consumers, with one key hitch.

“CRN applauds the inclusion of the Hemp Farming Act in the Farm Bill that removes hemp from the definition of marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and provides a framework for the lawful cultivation and marketing of hemp and its constituents, including cannabidiol, or CBD,” said CRN president and CEO Steve Mister. “This provision removes one of the barriers to the lawful marketing of CBD in a range of dietary supplement, food and personal care products, and will allow for greater research and understanding of this substance as a legitimate agricultural commodity.”

Mister also said that the dietary supplement and functional food industry now is able to work with the Food and Drug Administration to address the legal concerns it has raised with respect to CBD as a legitimate ingredient in food and dietary supplements. “However, in anticipation of increased market interest in CBD, CRN reminds industry that the Farm Bill has no effect on FDA’s position that CBD is excluded from use in food and dietary supplements, citing a definitional matter that prohibits ingredients from being marketed in food or supplements if they were previously studied in clinical trials for pharmaceutical purposes. CRN looks forward to engaging with FDA to address those concerns,” Mister said.

Emphasizing that CRN also is disappointed that the SNAP Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act was dropped from the conference version of the Farm Bill, Mister said, “An important step toward improving the nutrition status of low-income Americans, this provision would have allowed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients to purchase a multivitamin-mineral dietary supplement with their program benefits. CRN is encouraged by the strong support this effort received within Congress and among industry stakeholders, despite ultimately being derailed by political concerns. We are saddened that low-income Americans will not be given access to this option to help improve nutrient gaps in their diet. CRN remains committed to expanding consumer access to multivitamins and will continue to support policies that ensure all Americans, regardless of socioeconomic status, have equal opportunity for good nutrition.”

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PHARMACY

NACDS grant partners increase adult vaccination awareness

BY Sandra Levy

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores’ grant partners have published articles in the journal Vaccine, outlining the results of projects designed to increase adult vaccination.

The prevalence of vaccine-preventable diseases in adults remains a significant public health issue in the United States. The demonstration projects were supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NACDS.

NACDS’ Washington State partner’s article shows that community pharmacists contribute to improving adult immunizations through vaccine “forecasting” and proactive recommendation. The Nebraska and Iowa partners’ article details the implementation of a technology platform aimed at increasing adult vaccination rates in community pharmacies.

In total, these three projects provided more than 300,000 adult immunizations. Over 300 participating pharmacies were connected to their state-based immunization registry, with 150 pharmacies newly connected as a result of the grant.

The accessibility of pharmacies has been an important and documented factor in increasing immunization rates over the past two decades.

NACDS has consistently advocated for pharmacists to provide vaccinations. Pharmacists have the legal authority to administer immunizations in all 50 states.

The demonstration projects were supported by $800,000 funded by the CDC. NACDS contributed an additional $300,000.

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Hy-Vee buys files from 22 Shopko pharmacies

BY Sandra Levy

On the heels of yesterday’s announcement of a new deal between Shopko and Kroger that will see Kroger buying the files from 42 of Green Bay, Wis.-based Shopko’s stores, Hy-Vee announced today that it has acquired the business of 22 Shopko pharmacies in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Shopko patient files will merge into existing Hy-Vee Pharmacy locations in the 17 cities where the acquisitions have taken place.

“As we continue to grow our pharmacy business, we pride ourselves on providing an excellent experience to our customers,” Hy-Vee’s chairman of the board, CEO and president Randy Edeker said. “We provide customized care for each person who walks through our door. Our pharmacists will go above and beyond to provide numerous services to our patients so we can help them understand and assist with caring for their specific healthcare needs.”

All impacted Shopko pharmacy patients will receive a letter from their new Hy-Vee Pharmacy with additional details, the company said.

Each person who fills a new prescription or refills an existing/transferred prescription at any Hy-Vee Pharmacy location will receive a 5 cents per gallon Fuel Saver + Perks discount, which can be redeemed at any Hy-Vee location that sells gasoline, and a coupon for a discount on his/her next Hy-Vee grocery trip.

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