Hurricane Irma and pharmacy

There is an official state of emergency for 30 counties in Georgia* (see list below).

In those 30 counties, Emergency Refill Dispensing rules are in effect for the duration of the emergency.

Per the Board of Pharmacy:

“[A] pharmacist may dispense a 72 hour refill supply of a prescription drug repeatedly to a patient, but in total not more than a thirty (30) day supply, without practitioner authorization if:

  1. The refill is not for a controlled substance;
  2. In the pharmacist’s professional judgment, the prescription drug is essential to the maintenance of the patient’s life or to the continuation of therapy;
  3. The pharmacist makes a good faith effort to reduce the information to a form that may be maintained for the time required by law or rule, indicates it is an “emergency refill prescription,” and maintains the record as required by state and federal law and as required by state and federal disaster agencies for consideration for possible reimbursement programs implemented to ensure continued provision of care during a disaster or emergency;
  4. The pharmacist informs the patient or the patient’s agent at the time of dispensing that the prescription drug is being provided without the practitioner’s authorization and that authorization of the practitioner is required for future refills; and
  5. When emergency conditions permit, the pharmacist notifies the practitioner that the refill occurred.”

We’ll keep updated info on GPhA.org/irma — check that out.

* Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Clinch, Coffee, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glynn, Jenkins, Jeff Davis, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Pierce, Screven, Tattnall, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne, and Ware.

Corporate responsibility

In the face of the opioid crisis, here’s a great story on how one drug distributor is faced with the ‘bottom line vs. good of society’ conundrum. It gets even stickier when shareholders begin demanding changes to business practice.

Establishing rigorous systems to prevent drug diversion and illicit sales is expensive. It requires employees, investment in technology, and a willingness to rat out customers—some of the most lucrative ones. Selling lots of pills adds to the bottom line.

What’s in it for me?

Consumers, says Nielsen, want to know what’s in their products. And that’s not just food — it includes supplements and beauty products. (They’re more interested in what’s not in a product, in fact: artificial this or that, high-fructose corn syrup, spider eggs … you get the picture.)

39% of consumers in the United States say they would switch from their current brand to one that provides clearer, more accurate product information, and 68% are willing to pay more for foods and beverages that don’t have ingredients they perceive as bad for them. For 53% of consumers, the exclusion of undesirable ingredients is more important than including beneficial ingredients.

Pharmacy owners (and owners-to-be) should keep this kind of insight in mind. If the label doesn’t have the info, you should. (Click here for the full report as a PDF.)

Pro tip for opioid makers

If you’re going to trick an insurer into approving your medication for a patient, you really need to be sure that 1) you aren’t recorded lying to get the approval, 2) your company hasn’t already been warned about committing just that type of fraud, and 3) the patient doesn’t die from taking your pills.

[The employee] can be heard lying to an insurer about the prescription for Fuller, who did not suffer from breakthrough cancer pain and, in fact, had a history of addiction to other opioids. Nonetheless, the Insys representative lied to a call center working on behalf of the insurer in order to win authorization.

Zika may be part of a pattern

A combination of global commerce and global warming means that invasive species of mosquitoes are gaining footholds in places they haven’t been before.

See Jane read. Read, Jane, read.

While ‘presidential speeches, novels, and news articles’ are using simpler and simpler language, the opposite is true for scientific papers — they’re getting harder to read, and thus harder for the public, lawmakers, and even journalists to understand. And that ain’t good.

(Why? “[A]n increase in general scientific jargon over years” and possibly “the cumulative growth of scientific knowledge makes an increasingly complex language necessary.”)

An anti-depressant for Parkinson’s

The anti-depressant nortriptyline (aka Pamelor) might slow or even stop the onset of Parkinson’s by preventing the creation of the proteins that lead to the disease. Or, as the paper put it, “Nortriptyline inhibits aggregation and neurotoxicity of alpha-synuclein by enhancing reconfiguration of the monomeric form.”

Georgia gets some cash to fight opioids

The CDC is giving states, including Georgia, $28.6 million to track — and prevent — opioid abuse. The money is part of three programs: Prescription Drug Overdose: Prevention for States, the Data-Driven Prevention Initiative (DDPI), and Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance.

The latter two include money for Georgia. The DDPI will pay to “scale up prevention activities that include increasing the use of prescription drug monitoring programs and improving clinical feedback from these systems,” and the ESOOS funds will be used by medical examiners and coroners to “for enhancing their surveillance activities.”

Wait, what?

A high-fat diet may be good for you.

Too much meat may lead to diabetes.

Zika injections (!) might fight brain cancer.