New standing order for naloxone dispensing

You can dispense naloxone without a prescription, but you have to keep the standing order from the DPH commissioner on file. That used to be Brenda Fitzgerald, but since she’s gone on to greener pastures the new version is signed by J. Patrick O’Neal.

Click here to get your copy — print it and file it. (Yes, it still has Dr. Fitzgerald’s name at the top ’cause DPH hasn’t printed up its new letterhead yet. The signature at the bottom is what’s important.)

Telepharmacy in Statesboro

The VA clinic in Statesboro allows patients there to consult with a pharmacist 146 miles away, near Atlanta.

“The Statesboro clinic is too small to put an actual pharmacist in to do these kinds of appointments. Also, because Statesboro is so rural, it would have been difficult to recruit in that area.”

Important notes about the State Health Benefits Plan

  1. DCH and its State Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) division has contracted with CVSHealth as its new PBM. CVSHealth will start serving members beginning January 1, 2018.

  2. Might affect your patients: If they’re paying their premiums directly to SHBP, the agency has a new processor: WageWorks. “All references to ADP will be replaced with WageWorks. WageWorks will appear on: the Benedirect website, printed materials (letters, invoices, etc.), email notifications, and phone greetings (for COBRA participants only).”

30 seconds on Obamacare

* Because insurers originally backed ACA’s limits in exchange for the individual mandate — it effectively guarantees them a mix of sick and healthy people.

Meanwhile….

Democrats would appreciate some news coverage of their plan to reduce high drug prices.

[T]he Democrats’ plan, part of party leadership’s new economic agenda launched ahead of the 2018 elections, would create an independent, Senate-confirmed “price gouging” enforcer to identify medicines with “unconscionable” price increases and impose fines on manufacturers that are proportional to the size of the price hike. Money paid will be given to NIH to further its work on new drug development.

Fun pharmaceutical fact

The U.S. military spends $84 million per year on erectile dysfunction drugs — including $41.6 million on Viagra alone.

Researchers edit genes in viable human embryos

Researchers in Oregon have, despite warnings from a heck of a lot of scientists, edited the genes of viable, single-cell human embryos using everyone’s favorite gene-editing technique, CRISPR/CAS-9.

They used embryos that carried a gene for an inherited disease (they didn’t reveal which one) and successfully edited that gene so the disease wouldn’t manifest.

What’s different about this research team’s experiment is that 1) it used viable human embryos — not damaged ones that have previously been used (in China) for this kind of research, and 2) the team repeated the technique without causing damage to other genes.

What’s particularly notable is that these are germline modifications, meaning the changes the team made — if the embryo was carried to term — would be passed down to children.

If you’re thinking, “Holy wow, they could change the course of human evolution!” you’d be correct. If you’re thinking, “Couldn’t this lead to ‘designer babies’?” you’d also be correct. That’s what makes this research both exciting and terrifying.