Latebreakers

December 12, 2005

Don't leave the future of pharmacy practice in the hands of others. So urged John Gans, executive VP of APhA, at a recent seminar on drug importation and counterfeiting at the Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in New York.

APhA chief urges pharmacists to seize the moment

Don't leave the future of pharmacy practice in the hands of others. So urged John Gans, executive VP of APhA, at a recent seminar on drug importation and counterfeiting at the Arnold & Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in New York. He warned that there are mechanisms in place that could result in a change in laws that require a pharmacist's physical presence when an Rx drug is being dispensed. "It's pretty close to happening. The technology is there, the capabilities are there." Gans told seminar attendees that CAT scans are routinely read by licensed physicians in other countries. "If CAT scans can be read outside the country, pharmacists in other countries who are certified here could conduct a patient's drug review and be networked into our system." The solution, he said, is for R.Ph.s to retool. "Our role will be mandating that our physical presence be there with the patient, because how can you change somebody's behavior if you don't have a relationship with them-not just a conversation, but a relationship?" Gans said pharmacists must define their role so that it requires patient contact. "Assuring optimal medication use is simply helping patients get the most benefit and the fewest problems from their medications, this is what our reason to be has to be. We have to change."

Part D eligibility tool available

Pharmacies get help with dual eligibles

CMS has developed a process that would enable pharmacies to serve Medicaid patients also eligible for Medicare who were not automatically enrolled in the Medicare Part D program. The agency expects the point-of-sale process to be operational by Jan. 1 when Part D begins. It will allow pharmacies to fill scripts for such unenrolled dual eligibles at the subsidized co-pay rate and to rapidly enroll them in an Rx plan.

NovoSeven may raise risk of thromboembolic adverse events

Novo Nordisk and the FDA have issued a warning that NovoSeven Coagulation Factor VIIa (Recombinant) may have the potential for increased risk of arterial thromboembolic adverse events, including myocardial and cerebral ischemia and infarction. The warning was based on clinical studies in elderly, nonhemophilic, intracerebral hemorrhage patients. The revised prescribing information can be found at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/safety/2005/safety05.htm#NovoSeven.

Effexor XR approved for panic disorder

The FDA has given the nod to Wyeth Pharmaceuticals' Effexor XR (venlafaxine HCl) for the treatment of adults with panic disorder. This marks the first antidepressant approved for panic disorder since 2002.

Walgreens R.Ph.s disciplined over refusal to dispense

Walgreens has disciplined four Illinois pharmacists who indicated they would refuse to dispense emergency contraceptives. Although they have not actually refused to dispense, they were placed on unpaid leave after telling Walgreens that they would disobey the state law mandating that ECs be dispensed in a timely manner by pharmacies that stock such drugs. The pharmacists could be reassigned to Walgreens pharmacies in another state if they wish, according to the chain, which has had two Illinois pharmacies cited for not following the law. The penalty for violation of the law includes suspension of the licenses of the pharmacy and the R.Ph.-incharge.

OTC maker signs consent decree with FDA