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…]
The rapidly rising rate of opioid overdoses is one of the United States’ direst health crises. Addiction to illicit opioids like heroin has cast a shadow over the American health landscape for decades. However, a combination of the increasing ease of availability of powerful prescription opioids like Oxycodone and Fentanyl and rising heroin usage have caused overdose rates to skyrocket. According to the CDC, prescription opioid overdose-related deaths have quadrupled in the U.S. since 1999, reaching an astounding high of 15,000 in 2015 – even more than the 13,000 who died from heroin overdoses in the same year. Based on these overwhelming statistics, we can no longer stereotype opioid addicts. It isn’t just Bubbles from The Wire, or even Lou Reed and Keith Richards, who are in danger of suffering from a sudden and very often fatal opioid overdose anymore. Rather, it’s a growing number of average Americans all across the country. While this is a scary thought, it also means that pharmacists have more plentiful opportunities than ever to make a direct and positive impact on vulnerable patients. Here are a few ways you can help prevent opioid overdoses. [click to continue…]
Everyone wants to be trusted, especially in a medical profession, right? A new Gallup poll shows that pharmacists have once again been named among the most honest and ethical career professionals in the United States. In 2016’s annual poll, pharmacists were given a “high” or “very high” rating by 67% of the poll’s respondents and a “low” or “very low” rating by only 8%. [click to continue…]
During this past year’s hot button political season, Big Pharma took plenty of heat from all sides for the rising cost of life-saving drugs. It’s easy to understand why. When faced with an impossible choice between paying outrageous markups for necessary drugs or foregoing the purchase and putting one’s own well-being at risk, individual consumers can begin to feel helpless. Economic principles of supply and demand don’t always apply in such situations – being forced to put a price tag on your own life isn’t exactly the same as buying a new car or deciding whether to get your morning egg and sausage on a bagel or a croissant. So in instances where economic pressures may be inadequate to impact pharmaceutical companies’ pricing decisions, only through collective political pressure is it be possible to affect positive change. [click to continue…]
After several burglaries at area pharmacies, police in Tustin, California, turned to a new tool in their arsenal: GPS technology.
A police department crime analyst looked at the date and location of previous pharmacy burglaries in the Los Angeles suburb to try to discover patterns. They decided that the Creative Compounding Pharmacy on Newport Street looked like a likely site for a future burglary, and set their trap. [click to continue…]
The backroom work of counting pills and putting them into bottles has long been all in a day’s work for pharmacists. But in recent years, some hospitals and pharmacies are turning increasingly to pharmacy automation systems to take care of that. Robots, in the common parlance.
One popular model is the PillPick, manufactured by SwissLog. It packages, barcodes, stores, and dispenses individual doses of medication. Pharmacists verify the orders before they’re sent to patients. [click to continue…]