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The Zombie Apocalypse – Are You Prepared?

by pharmacy on June 8, 2011

Last month the CDC posted a lighthearted look at emergency preparedness by couching a serious subject in terms of a zombie attack, and the ploy worked. The blog post, Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse by Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan, scored millions of hits in a single week. The web public loved the rare glimpse of humor from the usually duller-than-dust government site. What readers got in return for their attention was a common sense guide to being disaster ready, a timely resource in light of the tornadoes, floods, ice storms, and wildfires that have plagued most of the country this year. [click to continue…]


Pharmacists are expected to know everything about every drug, an expectation that is patently ridiculous. How do you maintain your credibility when a client or friend asks about one of the 50 gazillion possible drug side effects or interactions? That’s right, there’s an app for that. Some of these nifty apps are exclusive to iPhone, and others will work with any smart phone. [click to continue…]


ISMP Requests Voluntary Reporting of Medication Errors

by Toby Roberts on March 24, 2010

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) began in the mid-1970s with the goal of tracking and investigating medication errors. Through voluntary reporting they review and investigate over 1000 medication errors each year.

The most common problems notes are not the pharmacists but the process of medication prescription and use.  Examples of breakdowns include, “look-alike vials of medication, the use of devises for medication delivery, similar drug names and similar brand-name extensions for over-the-counter drugs, dosing mix ups and ambiguous orders written by prescribers.”  The group collects information on the errors and then documents the likely reason for the mistakes and how they might be avoided in similar scenarios. [click to continue…]


The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is examining evidence to issue recommendations that health care workers that are trying to conceive, pregnant, or breastfeeding be relocated to areas that limit contact with potentially hazardous drugs.  The organization has completed the collection of information and suggestions from industry workers and employers and is currently in the review process.

NIOSH acknowledges that moving employees might be difficult in smaller pharmacy settings but is convinced that the potential for side effects warrants the suggestion.  They cite the increase in negative events such as miscarriage and stillbirths for nurses and pharmacy workers as evidence for the necessity of examination of the guidelines.

They note also that the guides for those “trying to conceive” would also apply to male employees. NIOSH notes that the information collected will likely take around two years to translate in suggested guidelines. There are no plans at this time to draft laws or regulations that employers are required to follow. [click to continue…]


FDA and Drug Makers Target Unapproved Medications

by Toby Roberts on December 30, 2009

In 1938 federal law began requiring that new drugs be approved for safety prior to marketing. In 1962 the laws required that drug makers also prove the effectiveness of new drugs before they could be introduced to the market. The FDA reported in 2006 that several thousand drugs are available that preceded these laws and that are currently still sold without any FDA approval.

In recent years the FDA has been targeting these medications and asking drug makers to submit new formulas for review to replace the previous prescriptions. Drug maker URL Pharma has been working with the FDA to produce a new and approved version of its drug Colchicine (used mostly to treat gout). While the FDA and URL Pharma tout increased public safety, critics claim the move is bad for consumers since it results in dramatically increased prescription prices. [click to continue…]


Eye Site Kiosks Used to Attract Pharmacy Customers

by Toby Roberts on November 4, 2009

St. Louis based Schnucks market has recently added thirty eye site kiosks to their pharmacy department in the hopes to increase customer service and drive traffic into the pharmacies. The kiosks are designed to help determine near and distance vision using eye charts and to also provide additional information for optometrists in the area.

Schnucks states that the kiosks are to help consumers take a more active role in their overall health care. Pharmacists often answer questions about over the counter eye care products but in the past have had to refer out all questions regarding vision and testing.  The kiosks give the pharmacist a chance to provide patients with more specific information and basic testing materials.

The kiosks are made by SoloHealth who is hoping to expand their use to at least five other cities by the end of the year. The company is working primarily with supermarkets but is also on the lookout for alternative locations. Success with blood pressure testing kiosks has led to the vision pilot and the increased emphasis on patient information services.

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