The Georgia Pharmacy Association
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The Georgia Pharmacy Association is the organization for Georgia pharmacy professionals who care about their pharmacy practice, the health of their patients, and their own careers.

GPhA provides legislative and political advocacy, information services and professional development to more than 10,000 Georgia pharmacists. We’re the collective voice for pharmacy in Georgia, and our voice is louder with you as a member.

GPhA Buzz by Andrew Kantor

Clarifying an earlier post

The other day we wrote a piece, “PDMPs need to be used to work” in which we wrote that “In Georgia … [p]harmacists are required to use the state’s PDMP, while it’s physicians who are not.”

To clarify: Pharmacists are required to enter information into Georgia’s prescription drug monitoring program database, but neither pharmacists nor physicians are required to check the system prior to filling or prescribing. Sorry for any confusion!

Andrew Kantor • June 30, 2016

Bloomberg’s excellent research on pharma pricing

Bloomberg has a terrific in-depth piece about pharmaceutical pricing. Here’s the skinny:

Pharmaceutical companies have been raising the prices of their products like mad, often well above the rate of inflation. But that’s the sticker price, and hardly anyone pays that — private and public insurers get hefty rebates on the drugs.

Bloomberg looked at the amount of those rebates to see how the actual cost of drugs changed over time. And in many, many cases the rebates didn’t keep up with the price hikes, meaning that even with discounts the prices of these drugs are rising faster than inflation.

Take Humira. From 2009 to 2015…

  • Inflation raised overall prices about 9.5 percent
  • AbbVie raised Humira’s list price about 127 percent
  • Humira’s price after rebates went up 111 percent

Amgen’s Enbrel was even worse — the rebates didn’t even keep up with inflation, so while the list price went up 140 percent, the rebated price rose 142 percent.

Check out “Decoding Big Pharma’s Secret Drug Pricing Practices.”

Andrew Kantor • June 30, 2016

We’ve got yer Zika webinar right here

Get updated on the Zika virus before the mosquitoes bring it to Georgia. Check out this one-hour webinar, July 19 at noon. You’ll learn “the latest information about Zika, and gain a better understanding of the role of clinicians in patient education, prevention, early recognition, testing, and reporting of suspected cases.”

Andrew Kantor • June 30, 2016

Pharmacies, flu shots, millennials

Millennials, many of whom still believe they’re immortal, don’t get a lot of flu shots. But at least when pharmacies in their areas offer them, the rates go up (from 29 percent to 36 percent).

Andrew Kantor • June 30, 2016

IMPORTANT: Butter is now safe to eat again

butter

The latest study finds that butter does not, in fact, raise your risk of heart disease. Feel free to indulge until the next, contrary, study appears.

Andrew Kantor • June 29, 2016

Georgia congressmen ask CMS to stop Humana contract change

In a letter to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, congressmen Buddy Carter (GA-1) and Doug Collins (GA-9) have asked the Federal government to step in and stop a proposed change to Humana’s amendments to its Pharmacy Provider Agreement.

That change, they said, would force independent community pharmacies to potentially lose five dollars per prescription they fill, hoping for reimbursement from Humana if they meet certain metrics — metrics, they say, that might be impossible to meet.

They want CMS to prevent Humana from enacting the change to its agreements. “I’m a free-market guy,” Carter told Drug Store News. “We need to let the free-market work. This proposal does nothing more than infringe on the free market in pharmacy.”

Andrew Kantor • June 29, 2016

SCOTUS: States can require pharmacies to dispense Plan B

A decision by the Supreme Court not to hear the Storman’s Pharmacy case means that states can require pharmacies to stock certain medications, and that those pharmacies cannot claim a religious objection to dispensing any of them.

We covered the case in detail back in January, but here’s the gist: Washington state requires pharmacies to stock the “morning-after” pill (Plan B and ella). Individual pharmacists could refuse to dispense them, but the pharmacy itself was required to carry and dispense them.

Owners of one pharmacy sued, saying that they had a religious objection to doing so. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that while individuals can refuse to dispense the drugs on religious or philosophical grounds, the pharmacy itself cannot.

GPhA, along with pharmacy associations from 32 other states (plus APhA and other national organizations) filed an amicus brief with the court in support of pharmacies’ right to refuse to stock and dispense medications the owners objected to selling.

Among other issues, we argued, smaller independent pharmacies may not be able to afford to have multiple pharmacists on duty to be able to dispense drugs if one pharmacist has an objection to a particular medication.

But the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, upholding the lower-court ruling. That does not mean that all pharmacies must stock all FDA-approved drugs (as the Washington law requires), but rather that states can require them to.

If you’re hearing shades of the Hobby Lobby decision, you’re not alone. This ruling (or, rather, lack of one) is essentially the opposite. Read the Atlantic’s story for a better explanation.

Andrew Kantor • June 29, 2016

Health tip: Cannibalism

favabeans

If you practice cannibalism, make sure you know what you’re doing. As this article in today’s Medical News Today explains:

“Although it seems ‘wrong,’ the good news is, consuming cooked human flesh is no more dangerous than eating the cooked flesh of other animals. The same goes for the majority of the human body; the health implications are similar to that of eating any large omnivore. However, there is one organ that should be avoided at all cost: the brain.”

Andrew Kantor • June 29, 2016

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Opportunities to Engage by Phil Ratliff

Join GPhA’s Practical MTM — it’s free for GPhA members!

Get CPE and share best practices for MTM — join GPhA’s Practical MTM community. It’s free, and it’s designed for members to share ideas and get the latest training (six hours of CPE!) Here’s what members of the Practical MTM community can expect:
  • Six hours of free CPE offered in May via webinar
  • Access to our Facebook discussion group
  • A nice discount on your current or future 2016 Georgia Pharmacy Convention registration (if you participate in two CPE sessions and join our Facebook discussion group)
Webinars begin and are held every week at 7:30 p.m. for three weeks; the Facebook group is open now for participants. Head over to GPhA.org/practicalmtm to learn more.

May 2, 2016 • Phil Ratliff

Be ready for the next phase of pharmacy: collaborative practice models

You need to know this: Pharmacy is going to be changing in a big way, with more pharmacists embedded in physicians’ offices, ambulatory clinics, and other practice settings. No one can explain what this means better than Bryan Zeigler of the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center in South Carolina. He’s been blowing audiences away with his presentation, and now he’s coming to Georgia for GPhA’s suite of three two-hour classes: New Collaborative Practice Models with GPhA legal counsel Greg Reybold. In one day — May 21 — you can learn when these new models are coming, how they’re going to change your job, and how to be ready for them. Go to GPhA.org/cpeweekends for more on New Collaborative Practice Models and to register for the live or online course.

May 2, 2016 • Andrew Kantor

License renewal is this year — do you have your CPE?

You need to document 30 hours of CPE to renew your license. If you’re behind, remember this: You can get  15 hours of CPE at the 2016 Georgia Pharmacy Convention. We’re offering more than 35 hours, but to be realistic we figure you can easily take 15 hours while taking advantage of the rest of the convention. (And of course all CPE is included with registration.) So if you’re scrambling to get your 30 hours of CPE squared away by year’s end, why not choose from among those 35 hours for courses designed for your practice setting? The Georgia Pharmacy Convention runs June 16-19 at the Marriott Spa and Resort on Hilton Head. To find out more about the convention and the CPE we’ve got, go to GPhAconvention.com.

May 2, 2016 • Andrew Kantor

• Exclusive GPhA Offer: Subscribe to Pharmacy Library for just $225

• Post a résumé, post a job at the GPhA Career Center

• Special GPhA Offer! Subscribe to Pharmacy Library for just $225

• Our MTM/Diabetes certification courses won’t be back until 2017

» Click here for more ways to engage with GPhA....