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. 142, No. 4, February 16

Antibiotic Resistance Is Fueled by Community Overprescribing
Your child has an infection that's resistant to antibiotics." So explained Bernadette Albanese, M.D., to the devastated family of a three-year-old girl battling pneumonia and bacteremia. Albanese, project director at Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene &...
Boomtown
Explosion in assisted living means new opportunities The American population is aging-over the next few years, the over-85 population is expected to double. With changing demographics comes a changing market for pharmacists, and, increasingly, that market...
Bucking a Trend
United Health Care expands its Rx drug benefits Formulary issues and the rising cost of providing prescription drug benefits have led a number of managed care organizations (MCOs) to reduce pharmacy benefits in recent months. So why would a company that...
California Pushes Continuity-of-Care Project
The California Pharmacists Association has launched a continuityof-care training program designed to ease the transition between inpatient pharmacy care and community care. The goal, as explained by project coordinator and former CPhA CEO Robert P. Marshall,...
Check Mates
Pharmacistfriendly auditor: A contradiction in terms? Mark Smilovitz, R.Ph., knows that when one of his employees walks into a pharmacy, he is not likely to be welcomed with a ticker-tape parade. "He's persona non grata. He's despised. He's hated," Smilovitz...
Clinton Promises to Save Medicare $2 Billion
In his State of the Union address on Jan. 27, President Clinton presented Congress with a legislative wish list for cracking down on fraud, abuse, and waste in the nation's health insurance program for senior citizens. If all 10 proposals become law-and...
Consumers Seen as Growing Force in Health Care
Seventy-two percent of Americans believe they are influencing changes in the health-care industry, according to an 18-month study of the impact of consumers on health care, conducted by KPMG Peat Marwick LLP and Northwestern University. Health-care industry...
Dynamic Duo
Warfarin-aspirin combo found to reduce risk of first MI For once, the infamous warfarin and aspirin (ASA) duo is not being depicted as a classic example of a drug-interaction disaster. Based on results of a 13-year Thrombosis Prevention Trial (TPT),...
Excedrin Product Hailed as First OTC for Migraine
Excedrin Migraine reaches shelves this month as the first over-the-counter medication approved by the Food & Drug Administration for mild to moderate migraine headache pain. The formula, which received FDA approval Jan. 14, is exactly the same as...
Exploring New Avenues
How to boost sales in your home care business A pharmacy-based home medical equipment (HME) business has a number of built-in mechanisms for growth, if only pharmacists would take advantage of them. That was the promise made by a marketing specialist...
First Antibiotic Inhalation Approved for Cystic Fibrosis
new formulation of an old aminoglycoside, developed for sufferers of cystic fibrosis (CF), is headed straight for the organs in distress-the lungs. Manufactured by Pathogenesis Corp., Tobi (tobramycin solution for inhalation) is the first such product...
Hospitals Go Retail in New Strategic Alliance Trend
Attention, shoppers. Now in aisle one, we have a special on glucose monitors and one-on-one diabetes management counseling... As hospitals scramble to survive and maintain quality of care despite shrinking budgets and managed care's "quicker, sicker"...
Hot Herbs
Here are some predictions for the yearS popular herbal remedies Just a few years ago, the medicinal benefits of plants like St. John's wort and echinacea were largely unknown or ignored in the United States. Now, they're fast becoming mainstream remedies....
How One R.Ph. Turned His Own Dietary Needs into a Success
When life gives you lemons, goes the old saying, turn them into lemonade. Pharmacist Joe Martinez turned them into cheese ravioli, chicken enchiladas, and banana bread. Martinez has been a self-described "110%" person all his life, from leading his high...
How R.Ph.S Can Avoid Being Taken in by Scam Artists
Are you being scammed but don't know it? A pharmacist-consultant who worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration for 22 years believes scammers in search of controlled substances are getting more clever at hoodwinking unsuspecting R.Ph.s. In a talk...
Illinois Jury Awards $800,000 in Fatal Medication Error
An Illinois jury awarded more than $800,000 to the family of an elderly man who died following a dispensing error made in a suburban Chicago Kmart Corp. pharmacy. The jury found Kmart negligent for a dispensing error that occurred in its Steger, III.,...
Latelines
Full court press coming on short Rxs More federal-state probes of short-filling, full-billing practices by drugstores are likely. A suit in Florida alleging that Eckerd bilked Medicaid out of $12 million by not prorating charges for partial Rxs (see...
Letters
Is there proof in the pudding? I enjoyed your article "Is OBRA '90 working?" in the Jan. 5 issue. I ask myself the same question almost daily. As a pharmacist looking to begin a pharmaceutical care consulting practice, I feel that we need to answer the...
Look Who's Watching
Feds pursuing pharmacy fraud in America What could America's most trusted profession possibly have to fear from something called Operation Restore Trust? Plenty. ORT, as it is known by the initialhappy federal bureaucracy, is just the most publicized...
Minimizing NSAID-Related GI Toxicity in the Patient with Arthritis
Overview Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), the most commonly prescribed medications for the treatment of arthritis, have undeniable clinical benefits. NSAIDs work by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, which contribute to the pain...
New Drug Checklist for the Patient
SIBUTRAMINE (sy-BYU-tra-meen) Used as part of a diet plan to help you lose weight. BRAND NAME: Meridia WHEN YOU SHOULD NOT TAKE THIS MEDICINE: Do not take this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to sibutramine or if you have an eating disorder...
New Wave of Rx Industry Consolidation May Be Near
Talk of another round of megamergers is circulating in the global pharmaceutical industry. At the center right now is SmithKline Beecham, maker of familiar prescription and over-the-counter products, such as Augmentin (amoxicillin), Tagamet (cimetidine),...
No Harm, No Foul
A few days before Christmas, letters arrived at 25 of the 30 pharmacies in Wichita County, Texas, at the instigation of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This greeting placed them on notice that penalties were due in amounts up to $400,000....
Nutraceutical Future Looks Bright, Says Panel of Experts
The race is on to develop "nutraceuticals," nutritional products with scientifically proven health benefits, according to a panel of industry, academic, and Wall Street experts convened recently in New York City by General Nutrition Companies Inc. The...
On the Beam
Wireless medical health-care information coming to R.Ph.s Pharmacists equipped with a wireless Internet antenna will soon be able to tap into stores of medical news and information through their computers without the need for an Internet connection,...
ProxyMed Enters Mail Market
Physicians whose patients use Merck Medco Managed Care's mail-service pharmacies can now prescribe on-line through an agreement with ProxyMed Inc., Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The deal also gives those physicians access to the formularies of Merck Medco's...
Rx and Health Research Figure in Clinton Budget Plans
President Clinton is counting on a tobacco deal and user fees to bankroll the health initiatives in his federal budget. For fiscal year 1999, the President is proposing a 21st Century Research Fund to find new medicines, the best treatments, and the...
Safety First
Following patient deaths, new TPN guidelines stress R.Ph.s' role New guidelines for the preparation of Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) will be unveiled soon. They will increase pharmacists' responsibilities on the compounding and labeling of TPN products....
Therapeutic Options for Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a public health concern that increases in importance as it increases in prevalence. The incidence of heart failure, unlike that of other cardiovascular disorders, is not in decline. It is estimated that five million...
The Zen of Pharmacy
There's a woman on the phone who wants to be counseled about her dog." I looked up at the technician, sighed, and said, "Tell her I'm a pharmacist, not a veterinarian." I was busy trying to practice The Zen of Pharmacy, doing my absolute best to stay...
Tide Turning
Regulatory climate changing for pain-control medications The days of multiple-copy prescription forms for controlled substances may be on the decline, clearing the way for greater availability of such substances for legitimate uses. At the Second Conference...
To the Death
Oregon M.D.s, pharmacy board duel over assisted suicide ltx rule Against the backdrop of a lawsuit filed by the Oregon Medical Association to protect patient confidentiality, the Oregon pharmacy board has amended its emergency rule requiring physicians...
U. of Mississippi Plants Seeds of In-State Drug Industry
The University of Mississippi's Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences has a long tradition of discovering new pharmaceuticals and agricultural chemicals using natural resources such as plants. Now, the institute is taking the grow-your-own philosophy...
Warfarin Wars
FDA tries to quell battle over generic Coumadin For the second time in less than a year, the Food & Drug Administration is trying to force a truce in the war over warfarin. Even before last March, when the FDA approved seven strengths of Barr Laboratories...
What a Difference a State Makes!
From Maine to Hawaii, the assisted-living business is booming. At the same time, politicians, regulators, and even industry experts are struggling to define the concept of assisted living and where it fits along the health-care continuum. "Nobody knows...
Whistle-Blow While You Work
Ever fantasized about being Attorney General? Forget Janet Reno. To make the dream come true, file a qui tam lawsuit. Qui tam is a shortened version of a long Latin phrase that means suing on behalf of the government as well as yourself-acting, in effect,...
'Why Are They in My Pharmacy?'
There really isn't such a thing as a random audit," said Edward Heckman, a pharmacist who heads PAAS National, a pharmacy audit assistance service for store owners vexed by third-party issues. Although audits are increasingly common, many pharmacists...
Women in Clinical Trials Still on the Front Burner
The Food & Drug Administration asked the American public whether it wanted women to participate in clinical trials-and the response was a rousing "Yes." As recently as the early '90s, women were shut out of the vast majority of clinical trials because...
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