A new collaboration may help a universal patient identifier (UPI) become a reality in the US. The National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) is the newest client to sign up for the free service, which can help to increase patient safety and decrease record duplication. In this project, clients send their master patient index database to Experian Health, a global health information service group. Experian compares demographic information in the database to its own extensive consumer demographics database to identify when one person has been mistakenly filed as two or more different patients. Each patient is assigned a unique 16-character UPI, and then the database is sent back to the client. Duplicate files are noted but not combined, so clients can decide how to best handle them. Experian does not manipulate or change the file in any way other than assigning the UPI number. [click to continue…]
The Chicago Tribune recently published a shocking investigative report showing that many pharmacies are failing to warn people about potentially deadly drug interactions when dispensing medications. Over the past two years, the Tribune tested 255 pharmacies in the Chicago region to see whether pharmacists were warning patients about drugs that were deadly or had serious consequences when taken together; only 52% passed the test. The pharmacies ranged from major chains such as CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Kmart, to regional chains such as Jewel-Osco and independent pharmacies. [click to continue…]
In an increasingly combative Congress, the 21st Century Cures Act stands out as a rare bipartisan effort. With at least 88% of legislators in both parties in the House and Senate in favor of it, it was one of the last acts signed into law by President Obama.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee first introduced the act in May 2015 and became its first cosponsors. The final product contained 312 pages of provisions that will help to discover, develop, and deliver innovative new cures and treatments for pervasive health issues. Overall the act authorizes $6.3 billion in funding for various initiatives. [click to continue…]
Esophagitis is an irritation or inflammation of the esophagus. It’s often caused by GERD, an infection, or a hiatal hernia, but sometimes it can be caused by medications. As a pharmacist, you’re in a position to catch this side effect, so it’s important to learn as much as possible about this rare but serious condition.
Symptoms of esophagitis include: pain when swallowing, difficulty swallowing, chest pain behind the sternum, heartburn, and a cough. Much less often, patients present with abdominal pain and/or vomiting blood. [click to continue…]
So, you’re a brand new pharmacy school graduate. You’ve suffered through hundreds of hours of medicinal chemistry, completed your rotations, and accrued $100,000+ of student loan debt on your ledger. But the hard part’s over, right? It’s time to enter that rosy pharmacy job market you heard about back when you started your PharmD program; plentiful straight-out-of-school prospects anywhere in the country offering huge paychecks surely await. [click to continue…]
Ebola is an often-deadly virus that has plagued Africa since it was discovered in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Zaire) in 1976. Nearly 13,000 have died since then, most of them gruesomely with extreme hemorrhaging from all bodily orifices. The deadliest season for Ebola was the 2014 outbreak which devastated Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, killing 11,000 people. Many attempts to create a vaccine have been attempted before, but the mortality rate of the 2014 outbreak was horrifying enough to spur scientists to make the push once again.
Fortunately, it looks like the latest attempt may have succeeded. The Lancet reported that an experimental vaccine is showing 100% effectiveness against Ebola. The vaccine, developed by Merck, was tested from March 2015 through January 2016 in West Africa. The vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV is a recombinant replication-competent vesicular stomatitis virus-based vaccine tailored to fight the Zaire strain of the disease. In plain English, that means it’s good at surrounding and strangling the virus. [click to continue…]