Drug Topics

Monthly news magazine reports on all phases of pharmacy for community and health-system pharmacists. Concise, easy-to-read news reports cover managed care trends, professional issues, national and state governmental activities, new prescription drugs, OTCs, and new merchandising and marketing techniques.

Articles from Vol. 140, No. 11, June 1

Another Alternative
Pharmacia & Upjohn has received Food & Drug Administration approval to market Estring, a vaginal ring that delivers continuous low-dose local estrogen for 12 weeks. It will be available to menopausal women by prescription. The ring, measuring...
Bills Aim to Warn Congress of Pending FEHB Changes
Under legislation now pending in the House and Senate, Congress would have to be notified in advance before any significant changes were made in the health benefits of retired federal employees, such as requiring co-pays for prescriptions at community...
'Blue' Dinosaur Gains Goodwill for Chain
Blue," the Thrifty PayLess Dinosaur, has been given new costumes and more messages. There are 10 costumes, ready to be sent to stores requesting them. Store personnel take on the Blue persona and his responsibilitieswelcoming customers at grand openings...
Boards Confront Direct-to-Patient Dialysis Legislation
Pharmacy boards in Missouri and Ohio have been grappling with legislation that would allow shipment of dialysis solutions and supplies, as well as some injectables, directly to patients, bypassing pharmacists. In Ohio, a compromise was reached with backers...
Boards to Test How to Assess Pharmacists' Competence
By the time the century turns, pharmacists up for relicensure may have to prove that they still have what it takes to practice their profession if a new feasibility study points in the direction of competency assessment. The executive committee of the...
Don't Forget Core Values and Consumers, NACDS Told
Don't change just for change's sake. Look before you leap. Don't throw out the baby with the bath water. Any way you put it, drug chains should be careful they don't lose sight of who they are as they reengineer themselves to stay afloat in a sea of...
Don't License Technicians, White Paper Pleads
Pharmacy technicians should be registered-not licensed-by state pharmacy boards seeking oversight of support personnel, urged a white paper from two national pharmacy associations. Registration, which merely enrolls technicians in an existing list, is...
Drug Firms Pleased with FDA's Increased Emphasis on OTCs
Package labeling, FDA reform, and drug diversion were some of the weighty issues the Nonprescription Drug Manufacturers Association (NDMA) grappled with at its recent annual meeting, held in Colorado Springs. Here are the highlights: OTC labeling. Just...
Earning Their Keep
Researchers who found that most consumers are willing to reach for their wallets to pay community pharmacists for pharmaceutical care were so impressed, they've set up a cholesterol clinic. When consumers in Toledo, Ohio, were asked whether they would...
Employee R.Ph.S Seek Help
In response to what it called numerous requests, the Massachusetts Pharmacists Association has created a new committee to address employee pharmacist issues. MPhA said employee R.Ph.s had expressed concerns about working conditions and their impact on...
End to P.R. Tax Credits Opening Way to New Minimum Wage
If Congress passes a minimum wage increase, thank the drug companies. As part of a complicated election-year Kabuki dance, opponents of boosting the $4.25-per-hour wage rate, bowing to the inevitable, have added a legislative sweetener for small businesses....
Environment-Friendly Inhaler Close to Market
The medical device industry is faced with having to redesign a product that has been a mainstay of medical treatment for 40 years: metered-dose inhalers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. A worldwide ban on ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons...
Express Scripts Takes on Pharmacy and Medical Data
What's new at Express Scripts is its entry into the world of integrated health claims data management. Among other things, this means the independent pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) has developed an ability to gauge the cost-effectiveness of drug therapies...
Feminine Protection Takes a Radically New Form
Pharmacies now have a new type of protection product to offer women. Fresh 'n Fit Padettes are pinkie-sized pads that are neither inserted like a tampon nor attached to underwear like a panty liner. The padettes may represent an important new niche in...
Fire Walls: Do They Work?
FTC reviewing effectiveness of Ibc-PBM barriers The Federal Trade Commission is checking for cracks in the fire walls that drug companies said they erected between themselves and their pharmacy benefit management (PBM) subsidiaries. "I think we all worry...
For Schizophrenia: Atypical Agents Offering Promise
In a broad and dramatic sweep, the spotlight in psychiatric pharmacology has moved from the SSRIs-the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors-to atypical antipsychotics. At least, that's what experts told attendees at the 149th annual meeting of the...
Generic Biotech Drugs Could Vault Industry to New Heights
If you think the generic drug industry has grown a lot lately, you ain't seen nothin' yet. There's still a lot more growth to come, promised Jerry Treppel, senior v.p. at Dillon, Read & Co., at a generic drug conference sponsored by his New York...
Get on the Offensive
State boards of pharmacy have to become more assertive in lobbying for their causes and fighting against the efforts of corporations that are willing to sacrifice patient care for profit. That challenge was posed by Carmen Catizone, executive director...
How I Would Encourage Pharmaceutical Care If I Were the President of a Pharmaceutical Company
During these past three years of pharmacy school, we have constantly been told that the role of the pharmacist must change if the profession of pharmacy is going to survive. Pharmacists today must break from the role of dispensing medications by taking...
How Well Does TV News Handle Pharmacy?
You sit down and turn your television on for the 6 o'clock news. The newscaster talks about a significant new drug the Food & Drug Administration has just approved and comments on its importance to society. On the screen, you see the pharmacist "counting...
In Confidence
FDA approves home care kit to test for HIV virus Patients who want to anonymously and discreetly test themselves for HIV can now do so in the privacy of their own homes with Confide, the first home collection HIV testing and counseling service cleared...
Inside Academic Detailing: Where's Community Pharmacy?
Academic detailing, the pharmacy benefit management practice of persuading physicians to prescribe a health plan's preferred formulary prescription drugs, is alive and well. However, it's more a job for inhouse clinical pharmacists than one for community...
Is It Safe for Mothers on Antidepressants to Nurse?
Do breast-feeding and antidepressants mix? Very possibly, according to a study that found breast milk and infants' blood contained no more than a few nanograms of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Although no one knows the long-term effects...
It's No Axid-Ent
Another H^sub2^ antagonist goes over the counter Axid AR is the latest H^sub2^ antagonist to become available over the counter. This nonprescription version of the antiulcer medication Axid (nizatidine) is indicated for prevention of heartburn, acid...
Judicial Expansion of DUR
From a recent Alabama Supreme Court opinion came this statement: "We believe that a prescription from an oncologist that a pharmacist believes to call for a heart medication used by cardiologists to treat arrhythmias or serious heart ailments should...
Kaiser Permanente Ready to Consolidate Mail Facilities
Kaiser Permanente is shifting a major portion of its California prescription refills to a pair of automated mail-out facilities. One central refill facility, for Kaiser Permanente of Southern California, could be up and running by early summer. The second,...
Latelines
PDF may oppose class action settlement The California-based Pharmacy Defense Fund may oppose the $351 million proposed settlement of community pharmacy's price-fixing lawsuit with 11 brand-name companies, unless a number of its concerns are dealt with...
Letters
Meeting metabolic needs With regard to Lisa Fleury's letter in Drug Topics, March 4, I thought I would forward this short response. I am employed by the largest pharmacy chain in the state of Florida. Each pharmacy location does an average volume of...
LTC R.Ph.S Positioned to Manage 'True' Cost of Drug Therapy
Long-term care pharmacists who want to succeed in the era of capitation and prospective payments will need to teach their clients a new equation for figuring out the cost of drug therapy. That's the message Tim Webster, executive director, American Society...
Lyme Disease Gaining More Attention from Scientists
Several hundred Lyme disease patients and their supporters rallied on the grounds of the Capitol last month to raise national awareness about tick-borne infections, calling for more research into the diagnosis and treatment of these debilitating diseases....
Medical Devices-And Their Role for R.Ph.S-To Grow
Once upon a time, all pharmacists had to know about were pharmaceuticals. But with the increasing growth of managed care and the explosion of medical technology, pharmacists can expect medical devices to play an increasing role in their professional...
Michigan Co-Op Switches to Franchise Chain Operation
What started out as a Michigan pharmacy cooperative 20 years ago has been transformed into a 43-drugstore franchise operation in order to swing a bigger stick in the third-party prescription business. Sav-Mor is the moniker of the franchise business...
NABP Backs Reclassification of Rohypnol as Schedule I
State board of pharmacy officials are overwhelmingly in favor of having Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) reclassified as a Schedule I drug, an informal poll has determined. The poll, taken at the NABP annual meeting in Boston recently, revealed that the majority...
Network Notes
Caremark bought Medpartners/Mulliken, a physicianpractice management company baed in Birmingham, Ala., is buying Caremark, parent company of pharmacy benefit manager Caremark Pharmaceutical Services, Northbrook, Ill., in a stock-swap transaction worth...
New Generic Industry Leader Seeks to Expand Alliances
The new president of a soon-tobe-merged generic drug industry trade association wants to enlist additional allies for legislative battles with brand-name manufacturers. At the same time, Robert A. Waspe is seeking a meeting with his counterpart-also...
New NABP Officials, Resolutions
The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy elected new association officers and executive committee members at its annual meeting in Boston. The following were selected for one-year terms: Ralph Progar, a state board member from Pennsylvania, president;...
New Standards
JCAHO ready to accredit long-term care pharmacies Are you ready for new standards from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)? At the midyear meeting of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists held in Marco Island,...
Nicotine Patches Show Promise in Brain Disorders
The administration of nicotine via patch or by infusion has improved cognition and alertness in Alzheimer's patients as well as those patients with schizophrenia, according to studies presented at the recent annual meeting of the Society for Research...
Now Public, Thrifty Payless Steps It Up on Many Fronts
From forming a pharmacy benefit management (PBM) division to making a public stock offering, Thrifty PayLess Holdings Inc. has been keeping busy this year. It's part of a continuing story for the Wilsonville, Ore.-based drug chain. Two years ago, TPI...
Now What?
The smoke hasn't cleared yet, so no one really knows how an amended settlement in the discriminatory pricing suit now before the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois in Chicago will affect managed care. Under the settlement, 11 drug manufacturers...
Pain Too Expensive to Ignore, Managed Care Groups Told
Managed care does a lousy job of treating pain. Inappropriate and inadequate pain management costs upwards of $100 billion annually in the United States alone, according to Arthur Lipman, professor of clinical pharmacy at the University of Utah College...
Pharmacoeconomic Guidelines Galore Coming
Just as there are many ways of conducting pharmacoeconomic (PE) research, there are many uses to which that research can be put Accordingly, the Association for Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research (APOR), with a membership of pharmacists, physicians,...
Pharmacy in Position to Act as Coordinator
It's too early to break out the champagne, but pharmacy, along with the pharmaceutical industry, may just provide the glue that binds American health care into a coherent system. "While the United States probably has the best health care in the world,...
Pioneer in Women's Health Offers Rxs, OTCs, Education
For approximately 15 years, Marla Ahlgrimm, R.Ph., has been catering to the special needs of women across the country. She was treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS) even before the phrase was coined. Ahlgrimm claimed that hers was the first women's health...
Prudential Makes Major Changes to Rx Operation
Prudential Pharmacy Management president Allan Zimmerman resigned from the firm following a move by parent company The Prudential Insurance Co. of America to relocate its pharmacy headquarters and reorganize its upper management. Zimmerman is the immediate...
R.Ph. Interventions Key to PCS Performance Plan
PCS Health Systems Inc. has rolled out two new performance-based drug plans that include reimbursement for pharmacy services. The two Performance Network plans, covering 3.5 million lives nationwide as of Jan. 1, 1996, may be the first step in a broader...
R.Ph.S Gaining Ground in Getting Prescriptive Authority
The movement to gain limited prescriptive authority for pharmacists is making headway from state to state. By now, more than half the states are either actively pursuing or have already attained some form of prescriptive authority, according to Diane...
Searching for Cost-Effective Antihypertensive Therapy
Dual therapy with Ziac (bisoprolol/hydrochlorothiazide, Lederle) or Lotrel (amlodipine/ benazepril, Ciba Geneva) may be more cost-effective than monotherapy with a calcium-channel blocker, according to data presented at the American Society of Hypertension...
Senators Seek to Ban Products Sold as 'Herbal Highs'
With states already acting on their own, Congress is beginning to move on sometimes-deadly herbal stimulants openly advertised and sold as natural, safe, and legal alternatives to street drugs. They are advertised on the Internet and are sold everywhere...
Sexual Dysfunction Can Be Harmful Effect of Many Drugs
Sexual dysfunction, an unspoken side effect of numerous medications, is more than a quality-oflife issue. It can lead to noncompliance. Also, if patients know that sexual dysfunction is a potential side effect of treatment, it may deter them from seeking...
Slowdown
Drug prices grew only 1.3% in first quarter, IMS reports Pulled down by a steep drop-off in the generic sector, prescription drug prices advanced 1.3% in the first three months of 1996, the lowest quarterly increase in 25 years, according to IMS America...
Spread the Word
If pharmacists ever expect anyone to pay for their services, they better stop preaching to the converted in their own ranks and start communicating their pharmaceutical care message to the people in front of the counter, advised a top consumer advocate....
The Fundamental Things Apply
Remember, 15 or so years ago, when the pundits were predicting shorter workweeks and more leisure time? Computers would emancipate us and give us more minutes in the day to smell the roses, or so those pundits suggested. A funny thing happened on the...
Third-Party Payers Extend Rx Dominance
Nearly two out of every three prescriptions written last year were paid for by third parties, as cashpaying customers continued their march to extinction. Third-party payments rose to 65.4% of prescription dollars last year, as the U.S. drug market grew...
Training Your Support Team for Clinical Practice
Whatever the outcome of debate on the future direction of pharmacy, dependence on the dispensing function as a primary source of reimbursement may no longer be a viable financial strategy. Today's pharmacist is under tremendous pressure to get out from...
Where Does the Time Go?
Exclusive new Drug Topics survey of R.Ph.s offers some clues Everyone knows community pharmacists work hard, but not everyone knows where all their time goes in the course of a day's work. How much time goes to actually filling prescriptions? How many...
Where Time Goes for Mass-Merchandisers
A few pharmacists working with mass-merchandisers were asked to explain where the time goes in their workdays. Ten responded to the survey. Although the small sample does not allow for statistically meaningful comparisons to responses from pharmacists...
W.Va. R.Ph.S Earn Diabetes Reimbursement
West Virginia's governor has signed legislation mandating that insurance companies pay pharmacists for counseling and monitoring diabetes patients. The new law, which became effective June 7, requires that insurers reimburse R.Ph.s and other providers...