Reid A. Paul, Senior Editor, joined <i>Drug Topics</i> in 2006. He covers technology and community pharmacies. He has six years' trade publishing experience covering the foodservice, hotel, and retail industries.
Out-of-pocket expenses to rise in 2009 for Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D beneficiaries will see a 7.5% increase in costs in 2009.
Senate looks to boost e-prescribing
New federal leglsation would mandate electronic prescriptions, dividing healthcare providers even the practice gains more acceptance.
BRACING FOR A SHOWDOWN
Pharmacists have temporarily blocked the Medicaid AMP formula, but a bruising battle still awaits.
DEA ends year with a flurry of activity
DEA issues new rules governing schedule II narcotics prescriptions and forms and suspends the license for two Cardinal Healthcare distrubtion centers.
FAIR OR FOUL?
Among the questions asked were what is expected for sales, salaries, and staffing for 2008.
150 Years of American Pharmacy: Stirring up interest in Christmas
Christmas slows rises in importance for pharmacies during the 20th century.
Pharmacy professor bridges the Alzheimer's divide
Patience and cooperation have been the hallmarks of an award-winning career in Alzheimer's care for pharmacist Robert Cluxton.
150 Years of American Pharmacy: Facts, facts, they all want facts!
Editor's note: Throughout 2007 this column, which takes a look at some of the most important moments in pharmacy history, will appear in each issue as part of our sesquicentennial celebration. Tied with this column is a pharmacy history contest, which we urge all readers to participate in. Monthly questions based on this column will be posted on the Drug Topics anniversary microsite. Contestants are eligible to win a Visa gift card of $250. For details about the contest, go to www.drugtopics.com.
New bill on pharmacy compounding stirs concern
Pharmacy industry critics are "gravely concerned" that the Safe Drug Compounding Act of 2007, a draft Senate bill, would sharply curtail the practice of compounding by giving the Food & Drug Administration authority to regulate compounding. A coalition of nine pharmacy organizations drafted a letter to the bill's expected sponsors-Senators Edward Kennedy (D, Mass.), Pat Roberts (R, Kan.), and Richard Burr (R, N.C.)-insisting that the bill "would negatively impact patient access to necessary compounded prescription medications and create onerous, new requirements for prescribers and pharmacists."
Just the facts: A look at pharmacy circa 1929
Generation Next: Pharmacy runs in these families
For 171 years a Thompson has been behind the counter at Thompson Drugs. Six generations of Heimstreets have counseled patients. The fourth generation of Seiferts recently began practice as a pharmacist, while Rupal Patel, a professor of pharmacy, is following the trail her grandfather blazed ... in India.
Technology update: Ready for the new daylight saving time?
It may not be exactly the next Y2K, but analysts warn that few IT systems are prepared for the new Daylight Saving Time that will begin March 11, 2007, and end on Nov. 4. In 2005 Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, which changed the national dates for Daylight Saving Time. If system calendars are not reprogrammed, the new dates may play havoc with computer systems and disruptions at an IT infrastructure and application level are likely.
150 Years of American Pharmacy: The diabetic patent's reliance on the pharmacist
Editor's note: Throughout 2007, this column, which takes a look at some of the most important moments in the history of pharmacy, will appear in each issue as part of our sesquicentennial celebration. Tied with this column is a pharmacy history contest, which we are urging all readers to participate in. Monthly questions based on this column, will be posted on the Drug Topics anniversary microsite. Contestants are eligible to win a Visa gift card of $250. For details about the contest, go to www.drugtopics.com.
Medicaid switch to AMP carries consequences
The National Community Pharmacists Association is warning that implementation of a proposed rule for reimbursement for generic drugs through Medicaid may result in many pharmacies pulling out of the program or going out of business. Citing the results of a recent Government Accountability Office study and its own internal polling of members, Bruce Roberts, NCPA executive VP/CEO, warned that under the new rule patients would face a "serious danger of losing access to lifesaving prescriptions. What we're faced with is not a natural disaster but a public policy disaster."
FDA offers RFID guidelines for devices
Hoping to facilitate the use of RFID (radio frequency identification) technology in medical devices, the FDA has published a draft set of rules and is asking for feedback from the healthcare industry. Comments must be submitted by April 2. One of the true advantages of RFID chips embedded in devices is that they can wirelessly communicate with distant readers and other devices, automatically conveying critical information. However, as the agency notes, the RF signals from one device can affect or interfere with the functions of other devices. The FDA hopes the draft guidance, which lays out the agency's regulatory requirements, will help manufacturers work together to avoid potential problems. The draft rules can be found at www.fda.gov/dockets/ecomments.
RFID tracking system tags drugs at item level
In a move that could significantly improve the monitoring and tracking of retail drugs, RFID (radio frequency identification) solution providers have developed an inventory tracking system for the pharmaceutical industry that uses ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID tags.
Pharmacy ranks continue to grow
According to the latest census of pharmacists from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, the number of pharmacists and technicians continues to grow across the country. In the NABP annual survey of state boards of pharmacy licenses, the total number of pharmacists, technicians, and pharmacies all grew, although some states did see declines.
Pharmacy to CMS: Medicaid rule is recipe for disaster
Following months of anticipation and concern, in late December the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a proposed rule governing Medicaid reimbursement that would cut more than $8 billion in Medicaid generic drug reimbursements over a five-year period. The ruling, which implements provisions of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA), drew sharp reactions from pharmacy industry organizations, which worried that it would have a profound and negative impact on patients and community pharmacy.
Medicare Part D sees flurry of late changes
As Medicare Part D moves into its second year, the program has undergone modest yet important changes. Still, despite sometimes significant premium increases and lack of coverage in the donut hole, most seniors seem to be sticking with the prescription drug plans (PDPs) they picked last year.
Pharmacists back CMS plan to share Part D data
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' proposal to share claims information data with researchers and other government agencies has met with widespread support as well as hope that the agency will take it even further. Pharmaceutical companies, some pharmacy organizations, and even Democratic Party leaders all welcomed the change, and many urged CMS to broaden the data sharing to include state Medicaid officials. The proposed rule change can be found in the Oct. 18, 2006, Federal Register
150 Years of American Pharmacy: 'The narcotic evil'
In a Jan. 14, 1914, editorial, the editors of Druggist Circular, the precursor of Drug Topics, made their position quite clear on the pending Harrison Narcotic Act. "Perhaps the narcotic evil has been the most absorbing single topic among druggists," the editors insisted. "Inaction [on the bill] was a disappointment to the drug trade, which ... has agreed upon the terms." The magazine need not have worried. The act, which aimed to regulate and control the distribution of opium- and cocaine-derived medications, passed later in 1914 and augured a new era for pharmacies of government monitoring and restrictions on certain classes of medications.
Technology update: January 8, 2007
The Internet has gained a great deal of notoriety for offering so much medical information that it is difficult to determine the good from the bad. Into that fray, two established sites are offering more resources on-line in an effort to educate pharmacists and patients alike. ASHP, for example, recently announced the launch of a Web-based resource center.
S.C. pharmacists help shape Medicaid reform
South Carolina officials looking to reduce costs in the state Medicaid program have tapped pharmacists to help in the effort by improving drug selection and adherence. The South Carolina Department of Health & Human Services is offering a $1.98 million grant to the South Carolina College of Pharmacy (SCCP) to implement the program, which will focus on Medicaid patients diagnosed with mental health disorders, HIV/AIDS, or cancer.
Despite court ruling, FDA still warning compounders
The Food & Drug Administration continues to warn pharmacies that compounded medications are new drugs under FDA jurisdiction. The FDA is insistent, despite a U.S. District Court ruling in August 2006 that called into question the federal agency's authority to regulate compounded medications. In at least eight instances covering a range of compounded medications, the FDA has warned pharmacies that the compounded drugs either posed danger to patients or too closely resembled FDA-approved products.
On guard: The auditor cometh
State and federal authorities are increasingly cracking down on pharmacies for fraud, waste, and abuse
Independents create new benefit model
It's hard enough to get an employer and labor union to sit at the table, but what happens when you add pharmacists, a wholesaler, and a pharmacy benefit administrator to the mix? For Aerospace Contractors Trust (ACT) union members working at Jacobs Engineering, the answer is a transparent pharmacy benefit plan that seeks to strengthen the tie between healthcare providers and patients, providing low-cost coverage, while at the same time supporting local pharmacy businesses.
150 Years of American Pharmacy: Authentic intelligence on all subjects related to our profession
In January 1857, the first issue of American Druggists' Circular and Chemical Gazette appeared in New York City. Published in the back of Bridgman & Co. apothecaries, the new journal was focused solely on druggists, apothecaries, and pharmacies and promised to "promote the acquisition and circulation of early and authentic intelligence on all subjects related to our profession. It will preserve all the features of a scientific journal and be at the same time a general business paper of the trade."
New approaches seek to promote e-Rxs
In an ongoing effort to boost the use of electronic medical records, technology vendors are finding more ways to make it easier for physicians to use them. Aiming directly at tech-savvy doctors, Zix Corp. has developed a new version of its PocketScript solution for smart phones-cell phones like Verizon's Samsung i730 Smartphone that also function as PDAs (personal digital assistants).
AMA to FDA: Regulate hormone compounding
In a move that surprised both compounding proponents and advocates, the American Medical Association Board of Trustees adopted a resolution calling for Food & Drug Administration oversight of pharmacy-compounded bioidentical hormones. The resolution, which, according to sources at the AMA, passed with little opposition, also included an amendment that called on the FDA to regulate the use of the term bio-identical hormones.
2007: Are the odds for or against you?
Pharmacists hope a new Congress will roll back reimbursement cutbacks that were originally slated
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