Employer groups with plans through GPhA: Open enrollment ends soon

If you are enrolled in a PEO plan through GPhA — or if you are interested in enrolling in one — open enrollment ends Friday, December 8.

To enroll (or just find some more info) reach out to Denis Mucha at dmucha@gpha.org or (404) 419-8120.

Current participants must confirm their enrollment, even if there are no changes to their plan or coverage status (employee, employee+spouse, etc.). They can do this by going to EnrollVB.com/gpha — but remember, it has to be by December 8.

And again, if you have questions, Denis Mucha is your guy: dmucha@gpha.org or (404) 419-8120.

Two Georgians launch phage directory

Background: Bacteriophages have tremendous potential for treating infection, but they’ve been mostly ignored in the West because of the availability of antibiotics. But now, with antibiotic resistance on the rise, phage therapy is popping up in the news more and more.

Phages are virus that attack bacteria. If you have an infection, chances are there’s a phage out there that will kill it. But those phages have to be matched; what kills one infection won’t affect another. It’s like hunting for a key that fits a particular lock.

The good news is those keys can be found just about everywhere — in soil, in ponds, on trees — but it’s trial and error to match one to the bacteria you want to kill.

Story: Now two Georgians, including a UGA grad student, have launched a directory of phages. If it takes off, the idea is that a physician looking to fight a particular bacteria could turn to the directory to find someone who has the matching phage, or who is willing to hunt for it.

Two cool bonuses: First, bacteria can’t grow resistant because phages can evolve with them. Second, phages look absolutely awesome:

(Personal note: Yeah, your humble editor is into this topic. I’ve been writing about it since 2006.)

Like those trendy jackets from the ’80s, Buzz is going members only

That’s right: Starting in January, GPhA Buzz (and some major parts of the GPhA.org website), will only be available to GPhA members*.

If you’d like to continue to receive these daily e-mails, we’d love to have you as a member. Just head over to GPhA.org/join for info, or contact Mary Ritchie at mritchie@gpha.org or (404) 419-8115.

* And some other folks we’ve worked with, e.g., leaders of other pharmacy associations, convention vendors, etc. Drop a note if you’d like to keep getting it and think you’re worthy.

Let them eat dough

Actually, not. It turns out that the E. Coli that lives in hamburger meat can also thrive quite nicely in the dry environment of flour. Ergo, cookie dough can kill you.

“We’re not trying to ruin people’s holidays but we want them to be aware of the risks,” claimed CDC’s Samuel Crowe, the lead author of the study — just as he ruined everyone’s holidays.

Good news: This doesn’t include the cookie dough in ice cream, nor the pre-packaged kind for people too lazy to make their own cookies. You know who you are.

UPS’s “curious move” in Georgia

What’s with the company’s acquiring a manufacturing pharmacy license in the state? Is it just to allow it to relabel packages?

“Becoming an FDA-registered relabeler means UPS now has the ability to take products from a manufacturer, relabel them, and sell under their own label or brand. Because of FDA requirements, we will soon know what UPS will relabel.”

Put down the pipette, sir

The FDA would like to remind you that do-it-yourself gene therapy is illegal.

(Actually, the agency says it’s illegal, but it’s not clear exactly what law would be broken.)