December 12, 2017
But we’re the best state for business
The good news is that there are nine states with worse health than Georgia. But yeah, that means Georgia is ranked as the 10th worst state for overall health in the annual America’s Health Rankings from the United Health Foundation.
So what hurt our ranking? “Community and environment,” with the second-worst level of children in poverty, and low rankings for diseases like salmonella and chlamydia.
We didn’t do well for health policy, either — notably our high number of uninsured people (fourth worst in the country) and low funding for public health. And finally there’s “Clinical Care,” where Georgia ranked poorly for the number of children with low birth weight, plus a lack of dentists and primary care physicians. (Details here.)
Massachusetts and Hawai’i* topped the list, and Mississippi and Louisiana were at the bottom. Because we know you were wondering.
* Look at us, being all fancy with the apostrophe. (Actually it’s called an okina.)
Aetna waives co-pay for naloxone
The company announced that its “commercially insured members” would not have to pay a thing to receive the anti-overdose drug. The logic: Co-pays were keeping people from getting it. “According to research from the drug manufacturer, nearly 35 percent of Aetna members prescribed Narcan between January to June 2017 did not pick up their prescription,” the company said. (Not clear: Does this cover both the nasal spray and the injector?)
Considering that in Georgia, patients do not need a prescription for naloxone, this means that someone with Aetna coverage can easily receive some to keep on hand in case a loved one is in danger of overdosing. (See GPhA.org/naloxone for details.)
FDA, Congress, rethinking how OTC drugs are regulated
The agency and Congress (both parties!) are planning an overhaul of the regs.
The issue is that rules for OTC products are created once and never budge — even when new information changes how the prescription version is used.
So, for example, prescription acetaminophen is limited to 325 mg per dose (you know, because of danger to the liver), while you can get it OTC with 500 mg or more.
The current regulatory process for over-the-counter, or OTC, drugs dates back to 1972, and is based on a simple but flawed assumption that most such products already on the market wouldn’t change much over time […] But the scientific understanding of the products — or the appropriate doses — is constantly evolving.
The Ys have it
As flu season gets into full swing, let us not forget that it brings with it another, potentially worse condition: man flu.
[T]here’s a plethora of scientific studies out there suggesting that men are not “wimps.” Rather, they may have a weaker immune system that simply makes them respond differently to the illness.
Drug spending growth slows in 2016 … probably
Drug Channels’ Adam Fein says that, in 2016, drug spending didn’t grow nearly as fast as hospital and “professional care” (i.e., physician and clinical services).
Here’s his chart:
(Although, as at least one commenter pointed out, that only took into account outpatient drug spending. It’s not clear how much the increase in hospital spending can be attributed to drugs.)
Help UGA with a naloxone survey
GPhA is partnering with our friends at the UGA College of Pharmacy — we’re trying to get 500 pharmacists to complete a survey on naloxone dispensing and opioid misuse. The goal is to learn more about the issues pharmacists face when dealing with opioid overdose reversal.
The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete and it’s completely confidential. Please take the time to answer it — this kind of information can really make a difference!
Which pharma companies are most transparent?
When it comes to releasing clinical trial data, that would be Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi, both of which received perfect scores for clinical trial transparency.
We love the useful information that crops up on Medical News Today. For example, today’s edition covers both “What are the best ways to make yourself burp?” and “What to know about making yourself sneeze.”