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Local pharmacy reacts to '60 Minutes' DEA investigation

Local pharmacy reacts to ’60 Minutes’ DEA investigation

Madison Wade, WBIR 6:43 PM. EDT October 16, 2017


KNOXVILLE, TENN. – A 60 Minutes and Washington Post investigation released Sunday claimed Congress helped “disarm the DEA” from fighting the nationwide opioid crisis. 

The investigation reported a law passed in 2016 and signed by President Barack Obama made it impossible for the DEA to step in and stop suspicious narcotic shipments from ending up in pill mills. 

An ex-DEA agent came forward and said Congress, lobbyists and several drug distributors fueled the epidemic by allowing the bill to pass. 

Several lawmakers are also facing backlash from the report, including drug czar candidate Tom Marino and U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee.

The Washington Post said Blackburn, who is now running for the senate, was a sponsor of the bill. The report said she received $120,000 in campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry.

According to our partners at the Tennessean, a spokesperson for Blackburn responded, saying “if there are any unintended consequences from this bipartisan legislation, they should be addressed immediately.”

Pharmacists at Belew Drug off Broadway in North Knoxville said the report seemed to address drug distributors instead of pharmacies. 

“It seems like they were focusing on entities doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason,” said Brandon Lock, a pharmacist at Belew Drug. “I think they were naming out the old pill mills that there used to be where you had doctors and pharmacists in one building inappropriately dispensing medications.”

Lock said they do not take the opioid epidemic lightly at their pharmacy.

“We have the ability to say no when anything comes across our desk. if we don’t think it’s appropriate we don’t dispense it,” Lock added. 

Lock they count every pill in every prescription more than once, and they also cannot simply order a surplus of narcotics.

“If a pharmacy orders more of a specific substance in a class then that order would be denied,” Lock said. 

They also run every patient through a controlled substance database that gives the pharmacist more insight into the patient’s previous opioid medications.

“It’s a lot of communication to make sure the right thing is being done,” Lock added.

While the opioid epidemic continues to affect lives and suspected drug overdoses continue to take lives, Lock said it’s important to triple check every prescription.

“All we can do is do our best to control it from our end,” Lock said. “There are not always good people writing prescriptions and you need to find those people and stop that.”

© 2017 WBIR.COM

Pharmacies Offering Prescription Delivery Services

Prescription Delivery Services: Could You Benefit From Offering This Service?

Offering Prescription delivery services could set you apart from the competition in tough times.  There are many challenges both patient and independent pharmacy are facing today. “One of the biggest threats to community pharmacy is the mail order pharmacy. Because they are owned by the PBM, they can essentially force patients to use mail order by refusing to pay for their medications. But they also gain many customers just on the notion of convenience – because they can deliver their medications to the patient’s door”.  Many independent pharmacies are asking themselves what they can do to compete.

Prescription Delivery Services may not be for every pharmacy so it is best to do your research on your community to ensure this would benefit both you and your patients. Independent pharmacies like The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy locations have been offering delivery services for years.

Tips and thoughts to consider before getting started with prescription delivery services.

Patient Benefits to Pharmacy Delivery Services:

Executed prescription regimen
Minimal effort

Many patients have conditions that don’t allow them to drive and pharmacies offering delivery services are critical for them to receive needed medications. Many pharmacies have found that by offering these services they have even begun to attract new customers.

Factors to consider planning for prescription delivery services:• Know Your State Laws and Requirements

  • Know Your State Laws and Requirements
  • Research Your Community: Would the surrounding area benefit from this service?
  • Analyze Your Patients
    • Do you have a lot of homebound customers in which other people come in and pick up prescriptions for them?
    • Do you have patients who have a hard time staying on track with their refills? Offering delivery service could help them adhere to their prescription regimen.
  • Survey Your Geographical Area: Can you service a rural area that has no pharmacy to service them? Are you in a populated area and could deliver to a whole street block and eliminate long lines in your pharmacy.
  • Set Yourself Apart: Are there other pharmacies in your area offering this service? If there is, you may want to offer it to compete with them but, if there is no other delivery service in your area this could be your competitive advantage.

“Our small pharmacy can’t afford to do delivery services”.

With today’s shrinking reimbursements, this may be a common thought. There is no way your pharmacy can take on an extra expense and this may be true for your pharmacy because prescription delivery services aren’t for every pharmacy. It is best to do your research on your community and have a clear plan but, before you write it off here are some tips that are helping other pharmacies incorporate this service.

Tips To Help You Integrate Prescription Delivery Service Into Your Pharmacy

1. Instate a delivery charge – a small fee may be a small price to pay for the ease and their items right to their doorstep.
2. Set a delivery service distance parameter.
3. Offer free delivery service with a required minimum purchase of over the counter products.

Trxade Makes Feedspot’s Top 50 Pharma Blogs on the Web

Trxade Makes Feedspot’s Top 50
Pharma Blogs on the Web


Top 50 Pharma Blogs & Websites For Pharmacists

The Best Pharma blogs from thousands of top Pharma blogs in our index using search and social metrics.

These blogs are ranked based on following criteria

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Drug Pricing Reform

18 Senators Ask Trump to Help Lawmakers Bring Down Drug Pricing

Senators to Trump: Make Prescription Drug Pricing Reform a Priority

In a letter dated December 20, 2016, Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Al Franken (D-MN) asked President-elect Trump to help lawmakers bring down prescription drug prices. The letter was co-signed by 18 other senators, including Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

The letter to President-Elect Trump begins, “During your campaign, you promised to implement bold reforms to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. In fact, you acknowledged that ‘Congress will need the courage to step away from the special interests and do what is right for America’.” The letter goes on the say that Trump supported allowing consumers’ access to imported, safe, and dependable drugs from overseas and vowed to negotiate lower prescription drug prices for seniors.

The letter also states that drug companies often engage in abusive tactics that price lifesaving drugs out of reach for those in need. The Senators tell Trump that it is time to enact policies that improve transparency and competition in the commercial market and make the government a smarter purchaser of prescription drugs. (Hey, Trxade advocates for transparency, competition, and smarter pharma purchases, too!)

The letter continues with the following five administrative and legislative actions (the letter details each one) that Trump can take in partnership with both parties in Congress:
1. Give the Secretary of HHS the authority to negotiate drug prices
2. Increase transparency
3. Stop abusive pricing
4. Protect and incentivize true innovation
5. Ensure true competition

The letter concludes by asking Trump to prioritize prescription drug pricing reform while in office.

Click here to read the full letter, complete with the Senators’ signatures:

PDF Download Letter Link: Senator Letter to Trump

Letter to President Elect Donald J. Trump

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