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Congress passes OTC hearing aid legislation

Congress passes OTC hearing aid legislation



WASHINGTON — A new class of OTC hearing aids is one presidential signature away from becoming reality. The U.S Senate on Thursday passed the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act as part of the Food and Drug Administration Reauthorization Act on a vote of 94-1.

“Thanks to bipartisan support on this issue, millions of Americans will improve their quality of life with little impact on their pocketbook,” stated Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association. “Until now, nearly half of online U.S. adults – 98 million Americans – with hearing loss have been unable to access adequate hearing assistance due to prohibitively high hearing aid costs as well as the inconvenience and financial burden of doctors appointments. This legislation will create a new class of over-the-counter hearing aids costing roughly one-tenth the price of traditional hearing aids, making it easier for those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss to afford the hearing assistance that they need.”

“This legislation will create a new class of over-the-counter hearing aids costing roughly one-tenth the price of traditional hearing aids.”

The legislation will make certain types of hearing aids available over-the-counter to Americans with mild to moderate hearing impairment. It also requires the FDA to write regulations ensuring that this new category of OTC hearing aids meets the same high standards for safety, consumer labeling and manufacturing protections as all medical devices, providing consumers the option of an FDA-regulated device at lower cost.

The bipartisan legislation was supported by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Reps. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

“This law will make a life changing difference for millions of Americans who experience hearing loss but can’t access the hearing aid technology they need because of high costs and excessive regulations,” Warren said. “By passing this legislation and making some hearing aids available over the counter, we will increase competition, spur innovation and bring down prices. I’m grateful to my colleagues – Democrats and Republicans – for joining me in this effort.”

“I recently chaired an Aging Committee hearing on social isolation among seniors, which revealed that hearing loss, if left untreated, may contribute to loneliness, increasing the risk of serious mental and physical health outcomes.” added Collins. “By making some types of hearing aids available over the counter, this commonsense legislation will help increase access to and lower the cost of these products for the consumers who need them.”

The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 received endorsements from leading organizations representing seniors, consumers and hearing health professionals, including the AARP, the Gerontological Society of America, the Hearing Loss Association of America, Consumers Union, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, the American Federation of Teachers, the Consumer Technology Association, the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, the Niskanen Institute, R St. Institute, and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology.

Approximately 48 million Americans experience age-related hearing loss, including two-thirds of adults between the ages of 70 to 79. Yet only a small share of Americans with hearing loss – around 14% – use hearing aids, primarily due to their high cost. Hearing aids are not covered by Medicare or most private insurance plans, and out-of-pocket costs for a single hearing aid average $2,400.

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

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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

  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts.
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review

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Trxade Pharmaceutical RxGuru Blog – Trxade

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