Arizona Pharmacy Flash
Jan. 15, 2013

Flu widespread in Arizona
Arizona Department of Health Services
After an early start to the flu season, Arizona flu activity hit widespread this week; widespread is the highest category possible. Influenza has been reported in 14 of the 15 counties. Doctors' visits for influenza or influenzalike illnesses have steadily increased over the last few weeks. There has also been an increase in hospital admissions, especially in the central part of the state.More

Summary of CDC media call on Jan. 11
In this article is a message from Dr. Karen Lewis, Arizona Department of Health Services, Arizona Immunization Program Office, about influenza. More

Sign the petition!
Pharmacists as Providers — we need 25,000 signatures by Jan. 26. Learn more.More

Inaugural Southwest Pharmacy Symposium
Become a Pharmacy A.C.E. — Advocate, Communicate, Educate. Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013. Learn more.

Not an AzPA member? Join today
Not an AzPA member? Join the only statewide association representing all pharmacy professionals in all pharmacy practice settings. With over 1,500 members, we are a leading association of pharmacists spreading the news and events of our industry.More

FDA approves painkiller the Obama administration warned about
U.S. News & World Report
Less than a month after the White House warned of a potential influx of painkillers from Canada that government officials say are easier for addicts to abuse, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a similar pill for distribution nationwide. Amid growing concerns of abuse of their products, Purdue Pharma and Endo Pharmaceuticals reformulated OxyContin and OPANA so that the pills were more difficult to abuse by prescription painkiller addicts. Abusers typically crushed time-released pills into a powder and injected them, allowing their bodies to get the full dosage at one time.More

Smart strategies for savings presented as ASHP meeting
Pharmacy Practice News
As the financial pressures on health systems continue to mount, facilities are responding with a wide range of cost-cutting strategies, many of which were presented during the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists 2012 Midyear Clinical Meeting. Whether it was billing for drug waste, putting limits on the use of high-cost pancreatic enzymes or having pharmacy leaders manage employee drug benefits — the latter racking up nearly $2 million in annual savings — all of the efforts shared a laudable goal: to conserve precious healthcare dollars without compromising patient care.More

The push for pharmacists' provider status
Pharmacy Times
A chorus is rising in the pharmacy community, calling for the profession to be accorded healthcare provider status. From a doctor of pharmacy candidate who has started an online petition calling on President Barack Obama to join the cause, to the CEO of one of the country's largest pharmacist associations who has identified it as a top priority, many feel that 2013 just might be the year when pharmacists win the right to be paid for the role they play in patient care.More

Safety data prompt new zolpidem dosage recommendations
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
The Food and Drug Administration recently announced safety-related changes to the labeling for zolpidem-containing drugs, including a recommendation to halve the recommended dosage for women. Ellis Unger, a director in FDA's Office of New Drugs, said that new pharmacokinetics data from driving-simulation studies show that after taking a nighttime dose of zolpidem, enough of the drug may remain in the patient's bloodstream the next morning to impair driving and other activities that require alertness. More

CDC: Flu widespread in 47 states, vaccine 'moderately' effective
HealthDay News
Flu continues its march across the United States, with 47 states now reporting widespread influenza activity, federal health officials recently reported. However, flu has begun to subside in some areas, especially in the Southeast, where it showed up first. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported that the current vaccine was found to be about 60 percent effective in warding off illness, which means it offers "moderate" protection from the flu, which is particularly severe this season.More

Prescription drug abuse a serious public health issue
Medical News Today
Prescription drug abuse is just behind marijuana as the United States' most widespread drug issue, with 22 million people beginning use of nonmedical pain alleviating drugs since 2002, according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The report points out several differences by state, in addition to data from 2010 and 2011 displaying rates of past year abuse among people 12 years of age or older, which spanned from 3.6 percent in Iowa to 6.4 percent in Oregon.More

Call for contributors
In an effort to enhance the overall content of Pharmacy Flash, we'd like to include peer-written articles in future editions. As a member of the pharmaceutical industry, your knowledge lends itself to unprecedented expertise. And we're hoping you'll share this expertise with your peers through well-written commentary. Because of the digital format, there's no word or graphical limit and our group of talented editors can help with final edits. If you're interested in participating, please contact Colby Horton to discuss logistics and payment.More

Niacin/laropiprant products to be suspended worldwide
The European Medicines Agency has recommended that the marketing, supply and authorizations of three identical niacin/laropiprant products — Tredaptive, Pelzont and Trevaclyn — for the treatment of adults with dyslipidemia be suspended across the European Union. In addition, the company that markets the combination, Merck, has begun working with regulatory agencies in all countries where the medicine is currently available to develop communications for healthcare providers and to suspend the availability of the product, with the timing to be based on individual country regulations and processes.More

Fibrate-statin label changes call for new protocols
Pharmacy Practice News
In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration warned clinicians against using the fibrate gemfibrozil with simvastatin because of an increased risk for cardiomyopathy and rhabdomyolysis in patients taking the combination therapy. Some health systems have responded by issuing a universal ban on all fibrate-statin combination treatment. Others have incorporated a hard stop into their clinical decision support systems when these two drugs are coprescribed. Regardless of the approach, experts say that safety protocols to monitor lipids and replace gemfibrozil with an appropriate alternative or switch to another statin must be part of the mix to guard against adverse drug reactions. More

Diphtheria vaccine administered in the thigh appears safer
A new study of 1.4 million U.S. children aged 1 to 6 years reveals that local reaction after DTaP vaccination is more common when the injection is given in the arm than in the thigh, particularly in younger children. The study supports current recommendations to give vaccinations in the thigh to younger children, according to the authors of the study, which was published online Jan. 14 in Pediatrics. However, whether or not to give vaccinations in the thigh to older children is a murkier question, according to experts. More

Company recalls 2 Mitosol lots
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
Mobius Therapeutics LLC recently announced a recall of Mitosol Kit for Ophthalmic Use lots M098260 and M08692 because one or more parts in the kits may contain a strain of yeast. The company said all customers affected by the recall have been contacted.More