What to Know

Biopharma company MannKind (yes, that’s its name) has a plan for an EpiPen alternative: an epinephrine inhaler. It’s in preliminary talks with the FDA to chart a path for possible approval.

—Andrew Kantor • Jan. 17, 2017

Comment!

Calling it a “ticking time-bomb in a pill bottle” might be a bit alarmist, but here’s a great article on the dangers of mixing multiple (sometimes more than five) medications.

It’s common for the average American to see several different doctors for different conditions, and for each doctor to prescribe a particular remedy. In general, there’s a real risk for poor coordination of care among primary care doctors and specialists due to the fragmentation of health care – and this can lead to having multiple drugs prescribed for similar ailments. In addition, the availability of over-the-counter therapies presents the opportunity for even more drug interactions.

What to do? Tip #2: Build a relationship with your pharmacist. You don’t say. (Bonus: 10 slides on “What Pharmacists Do.”)

—Andrew Kantor • Jan. 17, 2017

Comment!

When opioid addicts can’t get meds from their doctors, what are they willing to do? Take them from their pets, that’s what.

—Andrew Kantor • Jan. 17, 2017

Comment!

Nearly 12 million people with Medicare have saved [more than] $26 billion on prescription drugs since 2010,” according to CMS — that’s almost $2,300 per person since the Affordable Care Act was introduced.

—Andrew Kantor • Jan. 17, 2017

Comment!

Don’t.

—Andrew Kantor • Jan. 17, 2017

Comment!

You’ve heard about the Chicago Tribune story that found widespread medication errors in that area. The potential adverse interactions the Trib found are preventable; the pharmacy profession is patients’ last line of defense.

This was a wake-up call to the profession; we cannot let this happen here.

Georgia pharmacists are shocked and disappointed, and we are going to bend over backwards to make sure that patients of Peach State pharmacies are kept safer from medication errors and dangerous interactions.

As a major first step, we’re offering a free webinar, “Preventing Medication Errors in the Retail Setting: What Pharmacists Must Know, Do, and Say,” for all licensed pharmacists in Georgia.

Take it, and have your employees take it. You’ll find more information at GPhA.org/medicationerrors.

—Andrew Kantor • Jan. 16, 2017

Comment!

The legislature is in session, which means GPhA’s weekly legislative updates are, too. You’ll be able to find them all at GPhA.org/legislativeupdates.

This week: We’ve already begun tracking three bills — one on synthetic opioids, one on PBMs and prior authorizations, and one on changing the existing law on low-THC cannabis oil.

—Andrew Kantor • Jan. 16, 2017

Comment!

What if you cut through all the clutter, politics, old wives’ tales, and hearsay, and looked at actual research on the effects of marijuana? (Crazy, right?) A group from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine decided to do just that.

In a study sponsored by a long list of state and national health departments (including the NIH and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) it researched all the studies done to date on the effects of marijuana, and it came to a list of conclusions on what pot can and can’t do therapeutically, and which risks are realistic.

It rated the evidence for each as “conclusive,” “substantial,” “moderate,” “limited,” or “no/insufficient.” For example, “There is conclusive or substantial evidence that cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for the treatment for chronic pain in adults.”

It also looked at the claimed negative effects of using marijuana and rated those claims on a similar scale (e.g., “There is substantial evidence of a statistical association between cannabis use and the development of schizophrenia or other psychoses.”)

For the moment, this is the definitive look at what pot can and can’t do.

Click here for the report’s conclusions. (Hint: This is the document you want; six-page PDF.)

Click here for the Washington Post rundown of the report and its conclusions.

Click here to download the full, detailed report (requires creating a free account).

—Andrew Kantor • Jan. 16, 2017

Comment!

Here’s a quick shout-out to Representative Doug Collins, who spoke on the House floor last Thursday to recognize National Pharmacists Day.

—Andrew Kantor • Jan. 16, 2017

Comment!

Using data from more than 16,000 Americans over the course of 23 years, researchers found that those who ate lots of hot red chili peppers (not to be confused with the Red Hot Chili Peppers) were in better health and were likely to lead longer lives. Not clear was which way the correlation went — did eating peppers mean better health, or did healthier people tend to eat more peppers?

—Andrew Kantor • Jan. 16, 2017

Comment!