Arizona Pharmacy Flash
Mar. 26, 2013

Are institutional recommendations and guidelines good for patients?
By Mike Wokasch
It depends on the level of scrutiny and expertise applied by the prescribing physician in assessing the information used to support the recommendations and guidelines. Institutional assessments are most helpful when driven by clinically meaningful patient benefits resulting from comprehensive reviews of clinical data by therapeutic area experts — assuming they are unbiased with no conflicts of interest. This is a rather idealistic perspective when you consider most clinical data are from trials designed for regulatory approval and do not necessarily performed to reflect real-world clinical practice or typical patients. More

CPPA releases community pharmacy practice accreditation standards
The Center for Pharmacy Practice Accreditation released the approved consensus-based standards for community pharmacy practice accreditation. The standards consist of three domains that outline specific requirements a practice will need to meet to receive accreditation. The standards include an interpretive narrative to provide additional detail regarding how a practice will be evaluated for accreditation. More

Certifying organizations with a certification process approved by DEA
In the March 26 Federal Register, the DEA published the attached notice regarding qualified certifying organizations’ certification processes for electronic prescription or pharmacy applications to be verified and certified as meeting the requirements of 21 CFR Part 1311. The notice indicates the following:

A list of qualified certifying organizations with a certification process that has been approved by DEA is posted on the DEA Office of Diversion Control website.

Please refer to the Federal Register notice for further details.More

Register now for the AzPA Spring Clinical Symposium

Collaboration for Improvement in Patient Outcomes

Presented by the AzPA Health-System Academy

Date: Saturday, April 27
Location: Banner Desert Medical CenterMore

Save the Date

Friday, May 3

Geriatric Pharmacy Roundtable: A Focus on Geriatric Pharmacotherapy

Midwestern University College of Pharmacy Glendale


2013 Arizona Pharmacy Association Annual Convention & Trade Show

Watch your mailbox for complete information about the 2013 Arizona Pharmacy Association Annual Convention & Trade Show, June 27-30 at the Westin La Paloma in Tucson, Ariz.

Pharmacy: A Global ProfessionMore

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

Pharmacists reach patients with illustrations, less jargon
Half of patients in the United States don't understand the health information they receive, according to an estimate by the American Medical Association. The average American reads at an eighth-grade level, whereas most healthcare information, including labels on prescriptions, is written for college graduates. More

AAN: Doctors miss some FDA drug alerts
American Academy of Neurology via MedPage Today
The Food and Drug Administration's drug alerts on antiepileptic drugs may not be reaching healthcare professionals, and even if they do, physicians may not retain or act on that information, researchers reported. An online survey of American Academy of Neurology members showed that roughly 20 percent of healthcare professionals caring for epilepsy patients were not aware of major electronically reported FDA drug safety warnings for antiepileptic medicines, such as valproate, according to Sarah Bell of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and colleagues.More

Dual antiplatelet therapy: A phone call away from near-perfect adherence
Pharmacy Times
Many patients struggle with adherence to their drug regimen, and compliance can be especially difficult for patients who have had an acute coronary syndrome event and are placed on five or more new medications. Some of these patients are discharged on the same day they are admitted and either do not receive drug counseling or are in no condition to understand the drug counseling they are offered. Poor adherence to dual antiplatelet therapy — missing more than five days of treatment — increases the risk of stent thrombosis and death. Small delays and temporary interruptions in therapy can also have dire consequences.More

OhioHealth uses team approach to tame drug shortage
Pharmacy Practice News
Before a shortage of potassium phosphate products hit the OhioHealth health system in March 2011, the member hospitals had been "acting in silos" to manage scarcities. However, things changed after they realized they only had a two-week supply of potassium phosphate and an indefinite shortage resolution date ahead of them. As Lorrie Burns, one of OhioHealth's medication safety pharmacists, explained during a recent Institute for Safe Medication Practices webinar, the health system quickly moved to a collaborative and proactive approach.More

CMS cuts reimbursement for diabetes test supplies
American Pharmacists Association
Community pharmacies can expect a two-step cut in Medicare reimbursement for diabetes testing supplies. CMS is decreasing the fee schedule amounts for retail DTS to the current mail-service fee schedule amounts April 1, and then further reducing reimbursement to the national mail-service program single payment amounts July 1. Together, the two imminent cuts add up to 72 percent, according to CMS' fact sheet and news release issued Jan. 30.More

Drug shortages erode the quality and increase the cost of cancer care
Medical News Today
A national survey of health professionals showed that drug shortages are taking a heavy toll on cancer patients, forcing treatment changes and delays that for some patients meant worse outcomes, more therapy-related complications and higher costs.More

1st US state biosimilars bill becomes law
Virginia has become the first U.S. state to introduce legislation governing the substitution of biosimilar drugs for prescribed biologics. Brand-name drugmakers have welcomed the law as "a model" for all U.S. states, but the generics industry has attacked it for pre-empting FDA guidance.More

CVS Pharmacy wants workers' health information, or they'll pay a fine
ABC News
A new policy by CVS Pharmacy requires every one of its nearly 200,000 employees who use its health plan to submit their weight, body fat, glucose levels and other vitals or pay a monthly fine. Employees who agree to this testing will see no change in their health insurance rates, but those who refuse will have to pay an extra $50 per month — or $600 per year — for the company's health insurance program. All employees have until May 1, 2014, to make an appointment with a doctor and record their vitals.More

Pharmacist: Medication crackdown hurts patients
At least one pharmacy in Tucson, Ariz., is facing a limited supply of Oxycontin and Percocet. The Medicine Shoppe said its distributor Cardinal Health recently notified them that they had reached their threshold, "they told me that they noticed a spike in October and November of last year so they cut me off on March 18. It doesn't make any sense to me," said Deborah Van Sant, a pharmacist who owns the midtown pharmacy.More

Computerized drug-order systems lead to millions fewer hospital medication errors
Pharmacy Times
Use of computerized provider-order entry systems in hospitals helped avert more than 17 million medication errors per year in U.S. hospitals as of 2008, according to the results of a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. The study drew on surveys carried out by the American Hospital Association and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, as well as a review of previously published studies.More

State AGs pressure FDA for abuse-resistant generic pain drugs
Pharmacy Practice News
State attorneys general have joined forces to urge the FDA to mandate more difficult-to-abuse versions of prescription pain medications — specifically, generic opioid analgesics. In a letter dated March 11 to the FDA, the group of 48 state attorneys general asked the agency to adopt drug development standards outlining how manufacturers of generic prescription painkillers should develop abuse- and tamper-resistant versions of the analgesics. More

Inhaler approved for cystic fibrosis patients
HealthDay News
The TOBI Podhaler — tobramycin inhalation powder — has been approved by the FDA to treat cystic fibrosis patients infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that can damage the lungs.More

Botulism treatment approved for biodefense and emergency use
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
Cangene Corporation of Winnipeg, Canada, recently announced the approval of Botulism Antitoxin Heptavalent for the treatment of naturally occurring botulism and for use as a biodefense agent. The horse-serum-derived antitoxin neutralizes all seven known serotypes of botulinum nerve toxin — types A, B, C, D, E, F and G — and was developed through a contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. By 2018, a total of 200,000 doses of the product will be delivered to the Strategic National Stockpile, according to the company. More

Biogen wins EU backing for big new MS drug hope
European regulators have recommended approval of two new multiple sclerosis pills from Biogen Idec and Sanofi, both of which are expected to become major sellers. The recent decision by the European Medicines Agency was particularly significant for Biogen, since the U.S. biotech company is still awaiting a verdict on Tecfidera, or BG-12, in the United States.More