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Disclaimer: CSHP e-Newsbrief is a weekly listing featuring the latest news of interest to hospital pharmacists, selected from thousands of sources by the editors of MultiView. CSHP personnel approve the final summaries; any comments regarding content of this publication should be emailed to CSHP. It should not be understood or implied from the presence of advertisements that CSHP endorses any products or services advertised. MultiView and CSHP are not liable for any delays or inaccuracies in the information contained in this brief, nor for any actions taken or outcomes resulting from relying on the information provided herein.
In this issue:
• Canada: World's most expensive drug — costing up to $700,000 per year — too expensive
• Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and risk of sudden death among patients taking spironolactone
• University of Alberta researchers find cause of allergic reactions to medications
• WHO: Ebola cases rise for first time this year
• B.C.: Fentanyl claims jump 44 per cent
• Calgary pharmacists could help take the load off family doctors
• N.B. health expert: Get a flu shot, despite low potency against common strain
• Time to turn in old meds, say pharmacists
• Prices for the miracle drugs that cure Hepatitis C are collapsing
• Surgeries postponed as Saskatoon hospitals deal with overcrowding
• HPV vaccine Gardasil has a dark side
• Target Canada's pharmacy patient records being sold at rock-bottom prices
Canada: World's most expensive drug — costing up to $700,000 per year — too expensive
Canada’s drug-price regulator has taken the rare step of calling a hearing into what is considered the world’s most expensive prescription medicine, accusing its manufacturer of exceeding the permissible price cap.
The yearly cost per patient of as much as $700,000 is even more than the manufacturer, Alexion Pharmaceutical, charges in the United States, which typically has the steepest prices globally, says the Patented Medicines Price Review Board (PMPRB).
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Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and risk of sudden death among patients taking spironolactone
Trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole increases the risk of hyperkalemia when used with spironolactone. We examined whether this drug combination is associated with an increased risk of sudden death, a consequence of severe hyperkalemia.
A unique online training program, developed by a team of experts and compliant with USP <797>, has just been launched by BCE Pharma. The program helps participants improve their knowledge and skills by watching videos related to compounding sterile preparations, filmed in a controlled environment. The participants also take part in online activities and quizzes to test their knowledge and answers are given in real time.
For more information call 1-514-544-5051 or visit www.bcepharma.com.
University of Alberta researchers find cause of allergic reactions to medications
Local researchers have determined what triggers allergic reactions to medications.
Patients often experience itchiness, swelling, or rashes after receiving drugs or injections, painful reactions known as pseudo-allergies.
Researchers at the University of Alberta, in collaboration with researchers at Johns Hopkins University, have traced those reactions to a single protein. They are now exploring ways to block the protein and lessen the side-effects of medications.
The findings were published in the December edition of the journal Nature.
WHO: Ebola cases rise for first time this year
The number of Ebola cases in West Africa has gone up for the first time this year, the World Health Organization says, warning that the coming rainy season could complicate efforts to contain the disease.
In an update published online, the U.N. health agency said there were 124 confirmed cases last week, up from 99 the week before.
WHO said there are continuing problems tracking the spread of the virus. Only 21 per cent of new cases in Sierra Leone were from known contacts, meaning health officials have no idea how the majority of new patients are being infected and where the virus might be lurking.
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B.C.: Fentanyl claims jump 44 per cent
The demand for fentanyl - an opiate more powerful than heroin - is rising so quickly that some B.C. pharmacists are taking steps to prevent their businesses from becoming targets of break-ins and robberies.
According to the Ministry of Health, total claims for fentanyl increased 44 per cent from 2007 to 2014.
In 2014, there were 83,260 claims for the drug — through the claims do not track dosages patients received — compared to 57,800.
Calgary pharmacists could help take the load off family doctors
Karen Durrie has spent more hours than she can count sitting in walk-in clinic waiting rooms.
Ever since her pediatric clinic switched to referrals-only four years ago, her two children have been left without a family doctor.
“We’ve been left hanging this whole time,” said Durrie.
N.B. health expert: Get a flu shot, despite low potency against common strain
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 236 Canadians have died from flu-associated deaths so far this season and five of those were New Brunswickers.
New Brunswick’s office of public health says the best way to keep those numbers down is for people to get the vaccine.
“It’s really, really important,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, deputy chief medical officer of health. “Now would be the time, it’s not too late.”
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Too many pills: Tools to help elderly manage medications
It is not uncommon for elderly patients to come to the emergency room with a plastic bag (or two) full of pill bottles. The jumble of vials, bottles, and boxes usually contains essential medications, but it frequently also contains medicines that are outdated, redundant, unnecessary, and even dangerous. Such a situation is referred to in medicine as ‘polypharmacy.’
More young Canadians than ever hit with Type 2 diabetes
The Vancouver Sun
Diabetes caused by too much sitting and unhealthy eating is working its way down the age scale, according to B.C. research released this week. “Over the last few decades, lifestyles have changed dramatically,” said first author Dr. Calvin Ke of St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. “Many now live in urbanized environments where people are generally less active, and eat more high-calorie foods.
Time to turn in old meds, say pharmacists
Nanaimo Daily News
Local pharmacists are teaming up with the Regional District of Nanaimo to urge residents to return old medications to their local pharmacy.
In recent years, residents in the RDN have returned more than 4,900 kilograms of medications annually, the same weight as more than 1,200 sockeye salmon, and there has been a 147 per cent increase in the number of medications returned in the past five years. The free BC Medications Return Program helps divert medications from being thrown in the trash or flushed down the toilet, where they have the potential to harm the environment, children and pets.
Prices for the miracle drugs that cure Hepatitis C are collapsing
When California based Gilead Sciences announced a breakthrough treatment in late 2013 that cures most kinds of Hepatitis C, people were outraged at the cost: $84,000 in total, or nearly $1,000 a pill.
There are more expensive drugs, but Gilead Science’s hepatitis drugs’—Sovaldi and Harvoni—combination of eye-popping price, sales, and patient population (100 million plus worldwide) is unprecedented.
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.
Surgeries postponed as Saskatoon hospitals deal with overcrowding
There has been no improvement to overcrowding at Saskatoon hospitals and it is now affecting surgeries. The Saskatoon Health Region announced that all non-emergency and non-cancer related surgeries have been postponed at Royal University and St. Paul’s hospitals.
All surgeries scheduled at Saskatoon City Hospital are still going ahead as planned.
The goal, officials say, is to free up beds for a new 14-day initiative to fix the overcapacity problems hospitals have been dealing with for the past 16 weeks.
HPV vaccine Gardasil has a dark side
By the time Kaitlyn Armstrong received her third and final injection of the popular HPV vaccine Gardasil, pain had spread through the Whitby teen’s body, migrating from her back to her knees to her hips.
After her first dose, Natalie Kenzie of London developed egg-size lumps on the soles of her feet, her joints swelled and her limbs twitched uncontrollably.
Before getting the shots, both 13-year-old girls were told the vaccine had no significant risks.
Target Canada's pharmacy patient records being sold at rock-bottom prices
The Huffington Post
Target Canada is selling valuable patient information from its corporate-owned pharmacies to rival Walmart and effectively forcing its franchised pharmacists to sell off their own businesses at fire sale prices as part of its abrupt departure from Canada.
Pharmacies at Target locations have been told to pack up shop by the end of February, leaving thousands of patient files in the lurch, many destined to be snapped up by competitor pharmacies looking to expand their business.
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