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. 141, No. 7, April 7

A Drug Topics Exclusive Salary Survey
Employee R.Ph. wages rising, but vary by setting, region What better time of year to think about money than April! Taxes are due, and the Drug Topics biennial survey of employee pharmacist pay is in. A reality check on benefits, job satisfaction, dispensing...
Bergen Brunswig, Ivax Terminate Merger Plans
The impact of a new kind of vertical merger, between a drug wholesaler and a generic drug manufacturer, now remains a matter of speculation. Drug wholesaler Bergen Brunswig, Orange, Calif., unilaterally terminated its merger agreement with generic manufacturer...
Boot Up and See Us Sometime
It had to happen sooner or later. Last month, after searching the depths of our 140-year-old soul, Drug Topics went on-line. Pharmacists and other travelers on the Information Superhighway can now visit us at http://www.drugtopics.com and get all the...
Brain Power: NSAIDs May Offer a Way to Fight Alzheimer's
A powerful weapon in the fight against Alzheimer's disease (AD) may be residing in medicine cabinets all over the country. Researchers believe that nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may reduce the risk of developing this neurological disorder....
Bubbas' Bottles Heading for Texas-Sized Auction
The artifact collection affectionately known as Bubbas' Bottles will go on the block later this month in Houston in what is being billed as the biggest pharmacy antique auction of the decade. Pharmacy antique hunters are making plans to camp out at the...
Buying Time
Newest protease inhibitor enters the anti-HIV cocktail market Just cleared by the Food & Drug Administration's accelerated approval process, Viracept (nelfinavir mesylate) is no cure for AIDS, but the newest protease inhibitor may fend off the HIV...
California Bill 625 Calls for Formulary Disclosures
California has taken the first step toward forcing health maintenance organizations to reveal the financial incentives affecting their formulary decisions. State senator Herschel Rosenthal (D), chairman of the state's Senate Insurance Committee, wants...
Chains Must Look Ahead to Serious Automation
The automation of chain drugstores is imminent, and it could mean the closing or consolidation of poorly performing stores. That's the word from ScriptPro, the Mission, Kan.-based firm that is performing final testing on its ScriptPro 200, a machine...
Complementary Wholesaler
Harvard Drug outlines plans for community pharmacies As part of its new business vision, The Harvard Drug Group, Detroit, bills itself as a "complementary" drug wholesaler. It's a collective of various operating divisions, including Great Lakes Wholesale...
Customer Database Ethics Leads Drugstore Issues
Utilizing pharmacy databases while protecting patient privacy is one of the most controversial and important issues facing drugstores today, according to Steve Perlowski, director of industry affairs at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores....
Do Pharmacists Still Have a Lot of Proving to Do?
Can pharmacists prove that the cognitive services they provide are of value to patients? Yes, if the findings from two state programs are any indication, according to David Kreling, associate professor of pharmacy administration at the University of...
Drive-In Rx Window Can Help Move Sales Forward
Installing a drive-through pharmacy window requires careful planning and some financial outlay, but the payoff may be well worth the effort. Richard Cognetti, president and CEO of Gouverneur, N.Y.-based Kinney Drugs, a drugstore chain with nearly 50...
Ebb and Flow
Scott-Levin reports changes in prescription marketplace Although the nation consumes more prescription drugs every year, it hasn't reached satiety yet-and it's hard to imagine that it ever will. In 1996, the number of Rxs dispensed in drugstores expanded...
Fat's in the Fire
Obesity drugs pose weighty problems for pharmacists The stampede of overweight Americans to obesity drugs has jingled retail pharmacy's cash registers, but it's also set off alarm bells in some quarters about the long-term effects of such therapy. Fenfluramine...
Fess Up
N.C. pharmacists must reveal financial ties in drug switches North Carolina pharmacists or pharmacies touting therapeutic drug switches must reveal to prescribers any financial ties to pharmaceutical companies under a new pharmacy board rule. The mania...
Generic Firms Want Quicker FDA Action-And May Pay for It
If the FDA approved generic drug applications within 180 days, as required by law, consumers would save more than $11 billion a year, the National Pharmaceutical Alliance has told Congress. The generics organization said only 12% of the ANDAs gain agency...
High Court Test for Pharmacy?
A federal appeals court has struck down a Texas any-willingprovider pharmacy law, ruling that it was preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. ERISA, a federal law, takes precedence over state laws "relating to" employer-sponsored health...
Hospital Notes
On the move William Ellis, R.Ph., is making a change. Ellis, who is the current director of The Center for Proper Medication Use as well as executive director of the Pennsylvania Society of Health-System Pharmacists, will assume the position of director...
Latelines
Tarheels get tough on Rx errors Under a new North Carolina pharmacy board policy on Rx errors, the pharmacy will get the same penalty as the offending R.Ph. if the error happened in a store that filled more than 150 Rxs per R.Ph. on the day of the miscue....
Letters
Is this safe pharmacy? I found the article "Deadly dispensing" (Drug Topics, March 3), quite interesting. I have yet to see, however, any numbers gathered regarding when in a shift an error was made, or how many hours per day the pharmacist has worked...
Making More Sense out of New Antisense Technology
Using DNA to whip up a cloned world may be the wave of the future, but interfering with RNA to block production of disease-causing culprits is the present. Traditional drugs interact with already formed disease-mediating proteins. Drugs in a new investigational...
Many Retailers Still Unclear about New Ephedrine Rules
Although some retailers have quickly complied with the new Comprehensive Methamphetamine Control Act (MCA), many still do not understand all the provisions of the legislation, commented G. Thomas Gitchel, chief of liaison and policy section at the Drug...
Massachusetts to Legislate Plan for Pain Management
Pharmacists in Massachusetts are preparing to step forward as clinicians who are experts in pain management, following release of a comprehensive report, which presents the Massachusetts state legislature with an action plan for improving the treatment...
Miscellaneous Health Tablets
The information in this department is provided by Information Resources Inc. (IRI), a marketing research and software company based in Chicago. The sales data on specific OTC and HBC categories are based on scanning data collected from drugstores, food...
New Drugs Aims to Lower Blood Pressure without the Kinks
Drop the blood pressure, or suffer the "silent killer"! For the hypertensive population, most of whom have no symptoms, this age-old warning is just not scaring patients into compliance with therapy. Instead, many are put off by antihypertensive drugs...
No Limits
New campaign educates women about incontinence Women across the country may soon be asking their pharmacists for more information about the latest breakthrough treatments for stress urinary incontinence if a new campaign has the effect its sponsors hope...
No Place like Home
Cyberspace cadets would have us believe that if you're not on the Net, you're nowhere. But pharmacists who've been there caution that setting up a home page requires more than enthusiasm for the information superhighway. Larry Beierle, who bills his...
Patients Do Benefit from R.Ph. Counseling, Study Finds
Patients-and the health-care system-are the winners when pharmacists counsel them about their medications, according to a new study out of southern California. Patients, especially those taking highrisk drugs, were less likely to be hospitalized for...
Pharmacies Stay Afloat after Kentucky Floods
As soon as the floodwaters had receded from devastated Falmouth, the small Kentucky town's two pharmacies were back in business, not in their stores but in specially equipped trailers. After 12 inches of rain fell in 24 hours, the Licking River went...
Phaseout
Kaiser Permanente of Southern California is moving out of inpatient care. The giant health maintenance organization has agreed to turn two Los Angelesarea hospitals over to St. Vincent Medical Center, a member of Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), one of...
Squaring Off
A war has erupted over legislative attempts to force pharmacists to get approval before substituting narrow therapeutic index (NTI) drugs. The spoils of this donnybrook are megamillions for branded and generic pharmaceutical companies. So far, about...
Star Pharmacy Students Scores on Court and in Classroom
Charles Minlend is a rare kind of guy. He's training to dispense prescription medications-and he can already dispense a mean offense. No, we're not talking about an offensive counterside counseling manner. We're referring to his offense on court. You...
Stress, Substance Abuse, and Sanity among Pharmacists
It started innocently, with B.J. having a few beers on the weekends at college. Occasionally, the couple of beers turned into a few beers too many-especially when the pressure to maintain good grades in pharmacy school became greater. B.J. never thought...
Technology Helps Employee R.Ph. Group Spread the News
Organizers of a new national professional association for chain/employee pharmacists have found that the medium is indeed the message. The medium in this case is the World Wide Web, and the message is that employee pharmacists need a separate organization...
Technology Update
Open access Access to McKesson Corp.'s OmniLink centralized pharmacy system will be expanded to retail pharmacies supported by National Data Corp.'s health-care network. NDC's national electronic network will allow pharmacies using a wide variety of...
There's Another Way to Get R.Ph.S Paid for Services
While the Wisconsin Medicaid paid program that pays pharmacists for cognitive services is operating well, there are some drawbacks to this approach. Thus, the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) is willing to work with pharmacists and state Medicaid...
There's Now Home Test Kit for Anticoagulation
Health professionals have long sought a way for patients to monitor Coumadin (warfarin, DuPont Merck) without having to visit a doctor's office regularly for testing. International Technidyne Corp. (ITC), Edison, N.J., said the recent Food & Drug...
The Test of Time
With the aging of the population, pharmacists are feeling the pressure to gain a level of expertise in the field of gerontology. To help them, the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) plans to develop a national voluntary certification program...
This Firm Offers Buying Groups Drug Discounts, Patient Access
Pharmacy networks and pharmacy associations are teaming up with MIM Corp., Pearl River, N.Y., to purchase generic drugs at competitive prices. Through MIM, which is a pharmacy benefits manager (PBM), the pharmacy groups are achieving pricing they can't...
What's the Alternative?
Homeopathic remedy found wanting in allergic rhinitis Patients who use homeopathic or other alternative remedies may not be harming themselves, but they probably aren't doing themselves much good either. That's the conclusion of a small pilot study conducted...
What They Said
When asked what they like most about their job, about half of all R.Ph.s in the retail setting most enjoy the interaction with customers and helping people. About 25% of HMO pharmacists expressed similar sentiments. Relatively large proportions of retail...
Working on the Workplace
APhA to go after job site woes that hurt Rx care The American Pharmaceutical Association will strive to resolve workplace problems that it believes contribute to medication errors and make pharmaceutical care impossible to provide. "Some pharmacists...
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