A peek behind the curtain at coffee’s magic
We’ve talked before about how coffee is a wonder drug that can help you live forever longer. Now researchers are getting some insight into why.
They identified two gene clusters linked to a new inflammation process. Caffeine, it seems, can reduce the effects of the free radicals produced by those genes. (Technically, caffeine’s metabolites interfere with the nucleic acid metabolites produced by the free radicals. But you probably figured that out already.)
“What we’ve shown is a correlation between caffeine consumption and longevity. And we’ve shown more rigorously, in laboratory tests, a very plausible mechanism for why this might be so.”
But here’s a twist: Other studies have shown that even decaf coffee has health benefits, so it’s more than just the caffeine. Face it; it’s magic.
CBO on ACA
The Congressional Budget Office found that — without a replacement (and that phrase is key) — “18 million people could lose their insurance within 1 year and individual insurance premiums could increase,” as APhA summarized in its daily digest.
Be a GPhA lobbyist for a day — join a Pharmacist Advocacy Team
Georgia’s 2017 legislative session opened Monday, January 9, and every day there are literally hundreds of lobbyists at the capitol representing a wide array of interests, including some that don’t align with yours, pharmacists. Legislators need to hear from you.
You can help: Sign up today for one of our Pharmacists at the Capitol events — just go to GPhA.org/atthecapitol where you can pick a date. We have four scheduled so far:
- Wednesday, January 25 — 10:00 a.m. to noon
- Tuesday, February 7 — 10:00 a.m. to noon
- Wednesday, February 15 — 10:00 a.m. to noon
- Tuesday, February 28 — 10:00 a.m. to noon
We’re looking forward to seeing you there!
Gee, that sounds like a misdiagnosis
Get this: A study published in JAMA found that a whopping 33 percent of “asthma patients” didn’t actually have the disease.
The researchers surveyed 613 randomly-selected asthma patients who were receiving treatment across Canada. They found that 203 of the patients – 33 percent of the survey – didn’t have the condition and were needlessly taking medications.
“Without any testing, a physician might say ‘Gee that sounds like asthma, here, take this inhaler’,” said one doctor.
Preferred pharmacy networks dominate Part D
The other day we told you how PBMs are narrowing their pharmacy networks, moving from open networks to ones that are limited. Now new data from CMS confirms this — that preferred or restricted networks are dominating Medicare Part D programs.
According to Drug Channels, “[F]or 2017, 73% of seniors are enrolled in Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) with preferred pharmacy networks.”
This time it’s OK to inhale
Biopharma company MannKind (yes, that’s its name) has a plan for an EpiPen alternative: an epinephrine inhaler. It’s in preliminary talks with the FDA to chart a path for possible approval.
Focusing on the dangers of multiple meds
Calling it a “ticking time-bomb in a pill bottle” might be a bit alarmist, but here’s a great article on the dangers of mixing multiple (sometimes more than five) medications.
It’s common for the average American to see several different doctors for different conditions, and for each doctor to prescribe a particular remedy. In general, there’s a real risk for poor coordination of care among primary care doctors and specialists due to the fragmentation of health care – and this can lead to having multiple drugs prescribed for similar ailments. In addition, the availability of over-the-counter therapies presents the opportunity for even more drug interactions.
What to do? Tip #2: Build a relationship with your pharmacist. You don’t say. (Bonus: 10 slides on “What Pharmacists Do.”)
Any bowl in a storm
When opioid addicts can’t get meds from their doctors, what are they willing to do? Take them from their pets, that’s what.
CMS reports big Medicare savings
“Nearly 12 million people with Medicare have saved [more than] $26 billion on prescription drugs since 2010,” according to CMS — that’s almost $2,300 per person since the Affordable Care Act was introduced.