The Georgia Pharmacy Association
By Andrew Kantor

August 18, 2017

Express Scripts to limit opioids

The PBM will limit first-time users to seven-day prescriptions, will not authorize long-acting drugs, and will limit dosages. Not surprisingly, physicians don’t like the idea of the PBM making medical decisions.

For it’s part, Express Scripts’ spokesperson said, “A lot of times physicians are prescribing these drugs blindly. They don’t know that a patient may be going to see multiple prescribers.”

Docs to state: Kids need meningitis B shot

Four Georgia physicians’ groups are asking the state to urge students: Get a meningitis B vaccine.

Georgia law requires public and private university students living in on-campus housing to be vaccinated against meningococcal disease, but it is likely that students are protected against just four of the five strains of meningitis.

Meningitis B protection requires a separate, relatively new vaccine.

Gottlieb promises to increase generic competition

Drug makers are trying to stifle generic competition says Scott Gottlieb, and the FDA chief is Not Happy At All.

Done right, yes, probiotics work

The problem is the “done right” part. Adding any ol’ bacteria to a food product won’t do the trick.

Because most of the probiotic products you can buy at the grocery store have easy-to-grow bacteria (as opposed to bacteria that can actually work), they typically don’t do much. But …

[E]ven though probiotic products might be underwhelming, the probiotic concept is sound. Bacteria can beneficially tune our immune systems and protect us from disease. It’s just a matter of finding the right strains, and helping them to establish themselves.

Now researchers have shown in the first large-scale study that yes, the right mix of bacteria can make a big difference — in the case of this study, to prevent sepsis in babies.

Lack of sleep can lead to diabetes

So shows a new study in children: Missing sleep increases their risk of developing diabetes. How?

That’s because each additional hour of sleep children get at night is associated with a lower body weight, more lean muscle mass and less accumulation of sugars in the blood, researchers report in Pediatrics.

Earlier studies had found a similar link in adults.

Tired of hearing about the opioid epidemic?

OK then — how about the constipation epidemic?

Insurers will get their subsidy payments for at least another month

The Trump administration said it will make at least one more month of ACA-mandated subsidy payments to insurance companies.

Uncertainty over whether the so-called cost-sharing reimbursements will continue has already led some insurers to exist Obamacare markets next year, or to ask for significantly higher premiums for 2018.

After the announcement Wednesday, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said Congress should act soon to guarantee that the CSRs will be paid to insurers through 2018.

Since 1973, the sperm count in Western men has dropped more than 50 percent

Is it obesity? Smoking? Chemicals? A combination? A meta-analysis of research done over the past 40+ years found that male fertility has been dropping — and continues to drop.

This rigorous and comprehensive analysis finds that [sperm count] declined 52.4% between 1973 and 2011 among unselected men from Western countries, with no evidence of a ‘leveling off’ in recent years.

Or, if you prefer a picture:

—Friday, August 18 

August 16, 2017

Linda Wiant and deputy quietly leave Georgia Medicaid

We don’t know the details, but Director of Georgia Medicaid Linda Wiant has left that position, as has Deputy Medicaid Director Marcey Alter. Neither Wiant nor the Department of Community Health has released a statement, and no replacements have been named.

Wiant took the post in early 2015, and we enjoyed working with her (even before then, when she was the pharmacy director for Georgia Medicaid). We wish both Wiant and Alter the best of luck, and we’ll keep you updated if we learn more.

CBO report: Ending subsidies would hurt

Ending insurance subsidies would cause insurance premiums to skyrocket (20 percent in 2018) and increase the national deficit by $194 billion over the next decade.

Here’s the news story, and here’s the report itself.

Adding to the bandwagon

Cincinnati and South Carolina have joined the — gosh, we’ve lost count — the lots of other states and cities that are suing pharmaceutical companies over the cost of the opioid epidemic.

Mandating e-scripts for controls

New legislation introduced in Congress would require all prescriptions for controlled substances for Medicare Part D patients be handled electronically.

Post-truth society, Canadian pharma edition

Here’s a fun (sort of) story about how one pharmaceutical company made up a fake Canadian law, sued the government for violating that law, lost the suit, then spread “news” about patients supposedly (but not really) affected by the court’s ruling.

It created the fictional legal rule that, after several failed formulations, came to be known as the promise utility doctrine or just the promise doctrine. It was loosely based on the requirement in both U.S. and Canadian law that an invention be “useful” in order to gain a patent.

[…]

While artfully articulated, the promise doctrine never existed.

Chasing the red bull

Pot, schmot — energy drinks are apparently the gateway to drug use.

The researchers found that participants with a persistent trajectory of energy drink consumption were at a much higher risk of using [non-medical prescription stimulants] and stimulant drugs, and being diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder at age 25.

—Wednesday, August 16 

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Member: $349
Non-member: $519 (includes a year of membership good through August 31, 2018)

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Member: $20
Non-member: $40

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