ERNEST MARIO SCHOOL OF PHARMACY VOL.2 ISSUE 3 FEBRUARY 19, 2013
CHRONICLES x brought to you by the Pharmacy Governing Council
The Flu Epidemic and the Role for Pharmacists to Vaccinate
by Wei Huang, P1
When the flu peaked back in January, and news broadcasters reported the flu had reachedepidemic levels according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in almost all 50 states, the push to vaccinate had never been greater. 7.7% of recent deaths nationwide were attributed to the flu, which is above the 7.2% epidemic threshold set by the CDC. The flu has hit particularly hard in major population centers where population density is high and the chance of contraction is elevated. The most susceptible populations are young children, the elderly, and the immune-depressed patients. Two strains of the influenza, influenza A and B, are the sources of trouble this season, with influenza A (H3N2) responsible for 80% of the cases. The vaccine has been made against the two strains, but it stands at a moderately effective rate of 62%. Despite this, CDC officials still highly encourage people to get vaccinated.
Table of Contents
Photo Credit: http://vaccinenewsdaily.com/wp-content/ uploads/2012/02/flu_vaccine2.jpg
In the midst of this fray, pharmacists have an important role to play. Pharmacists are now able to give vaccines in all 50 states, including Washington, DC, although the specifics vary from state to state. In New Jersey, pharmacists are authorized to give any vaccine to people of all age group except those under eighteen. However, it
Medical Food Dispensing.............3 OTC Oral Contraceptives.............4 A PP1’s Lessons Learned..............5 Postal Service Impact..................6 SNPhA Advocates at Local HS’s...7
One major thing that pharmacists bring to the table is convenience. Although pharmacies usually charge a cheaper price
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Regulating Compounding Pharmacies by Yingzhi G. Zhang, P2
is unfortunate that in New Jersey, student pharmacists are not allowed to administer vaccines.
Compounding is an ancient aspect of pharmacy practice, having been one of the duties of pharmacists since before the profession gained recognition as an entity separate from physicians. The practice today involves the preparation of medications to meet unique patient needs – generally ones that cannot be fulfilled by large-scale manufacturers and commercial drug products. An outbreak of fungal meningitis last fall, however, was traced to contamination at a compounding pharmacy called the New England Compounding Center (NECC). The contamination led
to over 600 infections and 49 deaths and has raised some questions regarding the oversight of compounding pharmacies, forcing policymakers to reexamine the laws governing them. Before examining the regulations surrounding compounding pharmacies, one must first discuss why they exist in the first place. Consider the patient who needs 30 milligrams (mg) of a particular medication, only to find that the medication is only available in 20 mg and 40 mg doses. While the patient could cut the 20mg tablets in half and take three of the halved tablets,
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this leads to some problems: many patients are unwilling or unable to cut the tablets, and the act of cutting itself may lead to imprecise dosing. Where the demand for a 20 mg dose may be too small for a large manufacturer to justify its production, a compounding pharmacy can fulfill this need.A compounding pharmacy can also prepare medications for patients who are allergic to standard manufacturing materials or who need medication in a dosage form that is not commercially available, such as suspensions or suppositories. The oversight of compounding pharmacies, as with other pharmacies, typically falls to the state boards, which have different levels of regulation and enforcement. In response to the outbreak, New Jersey became the first state to introduce legislation requiring compounding pharmacies in the state to receive accreditation from the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB), a national organization generally accepted as the gold standard for quality assurance in pharmacy compounding.
Additionally, compounding pharmacies from other states must also be accredited in order to provide medications to residents of New Jersey. Up to this point, accreditation with PCAB had been optional. The NJ senate bill introduced on November 29, 2012 will be known as the Compounding Pharmacy Quality Assurance Act, and will require compounding pharmacies to furnish evidence of its accreditation withing six months of the bill’s enactment. Although the FDA regulates manufactured drug products, it does not have primary oversight of compounding pharmacies. The Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act (FDAMA) of 1997 states that drug products compounded by a licensed pharmacist in a statelicensed pharmacy for patients with a valid prescription do not fall under FDA surveillance. Thus, compounding pharmacies are exempt from the rigorous standards that bind commercial drug manufacturers. Some compounding pharmacies, however, have grown to resemble full-size manufacturing operations with practices that include
F.D.A. Deliberating Changes to Regulations of Hydrocodone
By Smita Jaggernauth, PP2
In an effort to curb the nation’s growing prescription drug abuse dilemma, an F.D.A. panel has voted to increase restrictions on analgesics containing hydrocodone by making them more difficult to prescribe. The F.D.A. has not officially decided upon the panel’s recommendation yet; however, it is believed that the proposition will be accepted and sent to the officials at the Department of Health and Human Services to make a final decision. A panel of physicians, scientists, and other experts voted on the proposition and the final vote tallied at 19 to 10 in favor of decreased prescriptive abilities. Specifically, it would prohibit faxed/phone call prescriptions and require a new prescription for refills. The measure would also limit prescriptive authority solely to physicians. The panel’s recommendation was met with both heated opposition and strong endorsement by doctors, pharmacists, and their patients, stemming from the drastic outcomes that the vote could have in painkiller access. Many pharmacists who frequently interact with drug abusers support the panel’s
judgment. They claim that tighter measures are imperative to discourage the abuse of analgesics and help curb addictions. While such measures would benefit pharmacists, other healthcare workers may face negative outcomes. The bill would prevent nurse practitioners and physician assistants from prescribing these medications, a policy that could greatly inhibit access for patients from underserved rural areas. Many also believe that increased controls would, in turn, encourage the misuse of other drugs such as heroin. However the emotional appeals from doctors, legislators, and those who experienced drug addictions from their loved ones were enough to urge panelists to vote in favor of increased controls. In a country where analgesic overdose has quadrupled since 1999 and now causes more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined, many believe that tighter restrictions on hydrocodone medications would be a key step to eliminating the nation’s prescription drug abuse problem. Reference: Tavernise, Sabrina. “F.D.A. Likely to Add Limits on Painkillers.” The New York Times. 25 January 2013. Available from: <http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/26/health/fda-vote-on-restrictinghydrocodone-products-vicodin.html?ref=health&_r=0>
bulk compounding of sterile admixtures without a prescription. These mixtures are often purchased by hospitals when there is a shortage of manufactured medications, which is ultimately how contaminated injections of methylprednisolone were administered to patients in 19 states in the outbreak last fall.In the wake of the incident at the NECC, the FDA is seeking additional powers to help regulate compounding pharmacies. This would include the ability to determine when a compounding pharmacy has overstepped its authority, and should be regulated as a drug manufacturer with the associated increase in standards. In a statement before the House Committee on Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions, Margaret A. Hamburg, Commissioner of Food and Drugs, recommended a riskbased framework for the oversight of compounding pharmacy. Under such a framework, “traditional compounding”, wherein compounded products are prepared for individuals with a prescription, would remain state-regulated..Compounded products that carry a higher risk, which include sterile products, products produced without a prescription (anticipatory compounding), and compounds being shipped interstate would fall under “nontraditional compounding” and be subject to greater FDA supervision. Compounding pharmacy serves an important role in providing needed medications to patients who have unique requirements. However, the outbreak of fungal meningitis also highlights the importance of stricter regulations for compounding pharmacies that regularly produce high-risk medications. Any new federal legislation must balance the two in order to properly serve the medical needs of the American public. References: 1. Multistate Fungal Meningitis Outbreak [homepage on the Internet]. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; c2013 [updated 2013 Jan 17; cited 2013 Jan 26]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/meningitis.html 2. Graber, Trish. “Van Drew introduces bill to safeguard against distribution of tainted prescription medicines”. New Jersey Senate Democrats. 21 Nov 2012. Available from: http://www.njsendems.com/ release.asp?rid=4720 3. Lindon, James. “Who regulates compounding pharmacies?” Medscape Pharmacists. 20 Nov 2012. Available from: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/774501 4. Morgan, David. “U.S. Regulator Needs New Authority Over Compounding Pharmacies: Report” Medscape Pharmacists. 31 Oct 2012. Available from: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/773462 5. Hamburg, Margaret A. Statement to the House, Committee on Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions. “Pharmacy Compounding: Implications of the 2012 Meningitis Outbreak”. Hearing. 15 Nov 2012. Available from: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Testimony/ucm327667.htm
A Growing Medical Food Market:
Pharmacists will have a Future Dispensing Role by Jennifer Kim, P2 Medical foods have existed ever since the Orphan Drug Amendments from 1988. However, most people, including pharmacists, have never heard of what they are. According to the FDA, medical foods are defined as “food which is formulated to be consumed or administered enterally under the supervision of a physician and which is intended for the specific dietary management of a disease or condition for which distinctive nutritional requirements, based on recognized scientific principles, are established by medical evaluation.”Medical foods have been long used in hospitals and long-termcare facilities, but only recently have they been seen in community pharmacies. With various healthcare products and growing health illiteracy in the country, there is a lack of knowledge on the differences between drugs, dietary
supplements, and medical foods. Like prescription medications, medical foods are dispensed at a pharmacy with a prescription written by a physician. Unlike dietary supplements, medical foods actually mitigate and manage disease conditions through their nutritional value as per evidence based medicine; the health benefits of these products exceed that of dietary supplements. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers products such as enteral feeding products, formulas for metabolic disorders, and oral dehydration products as medical foods. For doctors, the increasing usage is seen to be a complementary and adjunctive therapy to prescription drugs. Products for Alzheimer’s disease, sleep disorders, pain and inflammation have been brought to market because of their value and clinical trial results.
dispensed because of their advantages supported by clinical trial data, third party payers have grown to accept and cover them. Insurance companies have recognized that there is a significant benefit to medical foods concomitantly used with drugs. With a growing population of elderly patients and more acceptance of these specialty products, pharmacists should not only know how to dispense and utilize these drugs, but also be able to properly counsel patients. Reference: “Retail Pharmacists Find Opportunity in the Growing Medical Food Market.” Drug Topics. 01 December 2012. Available from: <http://drugtopics.modernmedicine.com/news/retail-pharmacists-findopportunity-growing-medical-food-market>
Since medical foods are prescribed and
Will Pharmacists Be Able to Charge for Cognitive Services? by Jazmin Turner, P2 The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has paved the way for new opportunities for pharmacists to charge fees for cognitive services. The current model requires pharmacists to sell medication in order to be reimbursed for their services, putting them in a position that requires them to focus more on dispensing and sales. As the most accessible health care professionals, however, pharmacists have not only the ability but the opportunity to serve as patient advocates and improve healthcare outcomes, and the ACA recognizes that. Once, pharmacists made their money from compounding individual pills from bulk ingredients. But with the rise of the pharmaceutical industry, the role of the community pharmacist has turned into more of a dispensing role. Due to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), the margin between cost and reimbursement has decreased so much that PBMs are now pushing pharmacists to sell non-pharmacy
items, such as cosmetics, to compensate. Under this current model, patients aren’t receiving the best care because there is more of a focus on selling a product than on improving patient outcomes. Nick Smock, pharmacist and owner of PBA Health - a purchasing and pharmacy services organization - believes that pharmacists should be able to charge for cognitive services based on education, experience, time, overhead, and return on their capital. Upon the initial consult with the patient, the pharmacist would collect the necessary information to create a patient profile, similar to a patient’s first visit with a physician. If, during a consultation, a pharmacist discontinues a medication after talking with the prescriber, it may save the patient $600 a year. It is thus reasonable for the pharmacist to charge $60-$100 for the consultation. Also, there would be the potential for improved health outcomes and fewer adverse drug reactions in addition to cost savings.
The United States predicts that there will be a shortage of primary care physicians due to diminishing reimbursement rates. Pharmacists can help fill this gap in care by using their experience and clinical skills and knowledge to better help their patients. The FDA is considering a proposal that would allow pharmacists to recommend certain maintenance medications without a prescription after the physician has given his diagnosis. The pharmacist would then monitor and titrate the dose, if necessary. With diminishing reimbursement rates and the provisions of the ACA, pharmacists have the opportunity and ability to shape the future of community practice. That future begins with charging for cognitive services.
Reference: Smock, Nick. “Affordable Care Act opens door to charge professional fees”. Drug Topics. December 12, 2012. Available from: <http:// drugtopics.modernmedicine.com/news/affordable-care-act-opens-doorcharge-professional-fees>
Moving Birth Control Over-the-Counter by Maryann Torres, P2 In December 2012, Governor Bobby Jindal
of Louisiana submitted an op-ed article to The Wall Street Journal titled, “The End of Birth-Control Politics.” In it, he hopes to end health care debates between Democrats and Republicans on insurance contraception coverage. Currently, under the Obama administration, health care laws dictate that women with most workplace health insurance plans can acquire FDAapproved contraceptives without co-pays. Jindal cites the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who recently supported the idea of selling oral contraceptives without prescription. He states that the only reason women must see a doctor before retrieving birth control is due to two reasons: because the government enforces it and pharmaceutical companies benefit from it. If contraceptives were sold over the counter, then pharmaceutical companies would be forced to compete, and prices would be driven down. In addition, with contraceptives sold over-the-counter, insurance companies would not have to cover the cost, leaving patients paying for them out of pocket. Jindal’s op-ed article attracted both positive and negative reactions. For women who have difficulties paying for doctor appointments necessary to renew a prescription, over-thecounter oral contraceptives would benefit them because missing renewals could lead to skipped doses, says Dr. Kavita Nanda, a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Others say that moving contraceptives over-thecounter skips the idea of relieving women’s health costs through insurance, and instead shifts costs to patients. Others are skeptical about the safety of patients being able to choose contraceptives without being aware of the risks, which include drug-drug interactions. A new role for pharmacists? If contraceptives eventually shifted to over-the-counter sales in the future, a new counseling role for pharmacists would open up. A few years ago, Washington State experimented with a pilot project that showed that pharmacists were able to supply women with hormonal contraceptives
without the help of a physician. In this role, pharmacists must be able to help women choose the right birth control for their life styles and make sure they are aware of risks and drug interactions that may occurs, such as with antibiotics. “OTC-Plus” Bringing prescription medications overthe-counter is evolving. In early 2012, the FDA proposed “OTC-plus.” With OTC-plus, approved prescription-only products would allow pharmacists to fill repeat prescriptions without a prescriber, given that patient compliance is assessed. Products proposed to be involved in OTCplus include maintenance medications for high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, migraine, and high cholesterol. By removing the need for prescriber approval for these maintenance medications, the FDA reasoned that doctors would have more time to see patients who are more seriously ill and reduce health care costs. Still, the list of medications being considered as OTC-plus must be carefully studied to ensure that patients will be able to safely evaluate the need and use of the medication. ^ References: Jindal, Bobby. “The End of Birth-Control Politics.” The Wall Street Journal. 13 December 2012. < http://online.wsj.com/article/SB100014 24127887324640104578163120400999616.html> Neergaard, Lauran. “Over-The-Counter Birth Control Pills Backed By The American College Of Obstetricians And Gynecologists.” The Huffington Post. 20 November 2012. < http://www.huffingtonpost. com/2012/11/21/over-the-counter-birth-control-american-college-ofobstetricians-gynecologists_n_2170450.html> Taylor, Lynne. “US FDA mulls ‘OTC-plus’ drug switches.” PharmaTimes Online. < http://www.pharmatimes.com/article/12-03-12/ US_FDA_mulls_OTC-plus_drug_switches.aspx>
Rabin, Roni C. “The Drug-Dose Gender Gap.” The New York Times. 28 January 2013. Available from: <http://well.blogs.nytimes. com/2013/01/28/the-drug-dose-gender-gap/?ref=health>
Ladies, Be Wary Before Popping Another Pill by Kushal Patel, P1 Having a tough time getting to sleep? Well as the popular adage would have it – just take a sleeping pill. Zolpidem, or more commonly known as Ambien®, is often used by people who need help getting to sleep. However, zolpidem has been under the microscope recently as a new formulation of it, called Intermezzo, was introduced to markets. It is regarded as a short acting drug and can thus be helpful for those who wake in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back asleep. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has questioned the recommended dose of Intermezzo for patients. Through further studies, it was found that men metabolize Intermezzo at twice the rate women do. Women thus require a lower dose of the drug for the same effectiveness. This news came shortly after the FDA had already recommended that the dose of Ambien for women be reduced by half. This gender issue is not limited to the increasingly popular sleeping aid pills – in fact, scientists say the problem applies to many drugs. Verapamil and erythromycin, for example, have been shown to be more effective in women than in men. Women are also more likely to suffer from the fatal arrhythmias that are a potential side effect in numerous drugs classes, ranging from antibiotics to cholesterol-lowering drugs. The basis behind the differences in drug metabolism between the sexes originates from many different factors. The size difference between men and women plays a role, but women also have hormonal fluctuations and a higher body fat to body mass ratio, which can affect how long lipid-soluble medications remain in the body. Thus, certain scientists purport that further studies on the efficacy of drugs need to be conducted to judge sex differences for drug metabolism prior to their approval.This lack of knowledge has not been remedied in many instances and thus the doses of many drugs may be called into question. This may lead to the pharmaceutical industry taking more proactive responses to the gender differences in dosages by incorporating more women in clinical trials.
The Student Voice Opinions and Commentary
Another New Start:
PP1 Lessons Learned From First Semester by Barkha Jain, PP1 Having survived the very first semester of college (and Pharmacy school), I have learned some valuable lessons that I think I have a duty to impart to my fellow classmates. From the move-in day until the moment after the very last exam in the first semester was over, everything feels like a blur. All I keep on thinking is: how did I survive first semester? For me (and most freshman, I’m assuming), the taste of freedom was one of the best perks about college. However, in hindsight, I realized that as much as freedom in college is exciting, it is also the root of many other common problems encountered by college students, such as procrastination. Here are some lessons that I have learnt from my first semester and will hope to keep in mind during this semester! Manage your time This is extremely vital. I know we have been told this about a million times in high school and college, but I cannot stress enough the importance of time management. Time management doesn’t mean that today, I will hang out with friends all day long, and tomorrow, I will lock myself in my room and study for chemistry. This is a terrible idea! I strongly advise against these kinds of plans. Instead, a better option might be to allocate some time everyday to each subject, if possible. Spending an hour on one subject everyday for a period of time may be a better idea than to unwillingly force yourself to spend twelve hours on one subject all in one day. For example, if I know that a midterm for chemistry is coming up in about – let’s say – five weeks, then, studying everyday starting now for at least an hour will probably be much less stressful than leaving all the studying till the last minute. This may seem like common sense, but it’s surprising how many students still put off the studying till the last minute, including myself. Part of the reason may be
the amount of freedom we have. We don’t have our parents to patrol us 24/7 and keep on nagging us to do our work. There’s no one in college to tell us what we have to do and what our priorities are. It is all up to us. We have to decide whether we want to go out to Chipotle tonight or work on that expos essay due in less than a week. I’m not saying that we should not go out at all and study all the time! What I’m trying to say is that we need to set our priorities straight and understand the consequences of the decisions we make. Create a schedule In order to set our priorities straight, we will probably need to develop some sort of a schedule. I’m not talking about the schedule that we make on Webreg. That’s set in stone (except during the add/drop week) and everyone has to (or should) attend every class during the week. What I’m talking about is a schedule for deadlines, exams, clubs, and important events throughout the semester. Using some kind of a calendar with all these activities and events can make it so much easier to remember the thousand things we have to remember otherwise. This way, we can also set our priorities straight. We can see which weeks will be busy and which will be relaxing. For example, if next week is supposed to be very hectic, then I can try to get some of the stuff done this week, so I won’t have too much on my plate next week. Making a schedule is one of the most useful ways to manage our time properly and beat procrastination. When in doubt, ask for help When I came to visit Rutgers, one of the campus tour guides told to my group: “Education is what you make of it! Here, at Rutgers, you need to be proactive about your education if you want to succeed!” Being proactive about our education means that we should do everything in our power to understand the material we are learning in class. If we are having trouble
understanding the material we are learning inside classrooms, then there are many steps we can take to remedy this problem: 1) Office hours of lecturers and TAs 2) Learning Centers 3) One-on-one tuturoing (although this will probably cost you. 4) Form study groups with friends. There are probably more options, but these are the few that I know of. Basically, the meaning of all these options is: ASK FOR HELP! Lecturers and TAs hold office hours because (it’s part of their jobs) and they know that not every student understands the material they are teaching in classroom. Due to the size of most classes, they can’t go over all the problems that their students are facing, which is why they hold office hours. Learning Centers is another option available to students. Some lecturers also suggest tutors (usually past students who have done remarkably well in the class) in the beginning of the semester. Last, but definitely not the least, forming study groups with friends can be both fun and helpful. However, I must advise you to pick friends carefully because you don’t want your “study party” to become just a “party” in the end. Get involved One thing I regret the most is not getting involved last semester. The blame partly lies in my schedule because I had evening classes everyday except Fridays. Unfortunately, most club meetings are held in the evening, so I couldn’t attend some of the club meetings I wanted to. However, most of it was my own fault. I didn’t take the initiative to attend every club meeting. It would be an on-and-off thing for me. I would attend whenever I would feel like it. However, this semester, I’m going to turn things around. I don’t plan to join ten clubs just to keep myself busy. Instead, I’m going
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Another New Start Continued from page 5 to join a few clubs (2-3) that I actually want to join and make a resolution to attend every meeting I can. This semester, I’m lucky that most of the clubs I want to join are held at times that I am free and available. Getting involved is a great way to meet new people, build a network, and gain opportunities. Joining clubs and organizations will also help us to build our resumes when we go out to apply for jobs. Most of these advice are what we hear everyday. And I do admit that for some of these things, it’s easier said than done. But hopefully, these tips will help you get through the second semester and make the most you can out of it!
Postal Service Plan Impacts Patients
by Ashley Brower, P3
A new cost savings plan of the US. Postal Service (USPS) may have a negative consequence for patients that have medications delivered to their home. Earlier this month, the USPS announced plans to eliminate Saturday letter delivery. This plan would save an estimated 2 billion dollars annually. Saturday “package” delivery will continue under this plan, but there are concerns about ensuring the delivery of medications to patients in need. There is a growing trend of patients having medications delivered to their home. The convenience of home delivery is especially apparent for those with disabilities or in rural areas. Medications are delivered in packages but may also be delivered through first class mail or small envelopes. Eliminating Saturday mail service may prevent these patients from receiving their medications on time. In response to the USPS announcement,
88 bipartisan lawmakers wrote a letter to the Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. This letter requested the continued delivery of medications six times per week. In addition, the clarification of a “package” was requested. Any impact that this USPS plan has on Saturday medication deliveries may have a detrimental effect on patients by diminished the flexibility and convenience of home delivery of medication. The definition of a “package” will play a large role in the extent that this new plan impacts patients. Reference: “Representatives push USPS for 6-day prescription deliveries.” Drug Topics. 1 February 2013. Available from: <http:// drugtopics.modernmedicine.com/drug-topics/news/drug-topics/ associations/representatives-push-usps-6-day-prescription-deliveries> Image from http://www.centraloregonprinting.com/wp-content/ uploads/2012/08/mailing-envelope.jpg
Flu Epidemic Continued from the front page for vaccines at $25 to $32 while doctor’s offices charge at least $48, most people are indifferent to this as their insurance pays the bill. It is the convenience that encourages people to get vaccinated at a pharmacy. Pharmacies are ubiquitously located and patients can just walk in and get vaccinated. Some pharmacies that are open 24 hours go so far as to offer vaccines 24/7. Convenience however, is not the only benefit that pharmacist-provided vaccination bring to the community. Pharmacists are also in the position to identify high-risk patients based on their medications and participate in outreach programs.
Accessed from: http://images.agoramedia.com/everydayhealth/ gcms/Flu_stats_2013_011813_a.jpg
The majority of vaccinations are still provided at doctor’s offices, but the percentage of vaccinations provided by pharmacists is increasing rapidly. In 2006-07, less than 7% of flu shots where administered by pharmacists; in 2009-10, about 10-13% of flu shots were given by pharmacists; in 2010-11, that percentage
increased to almost 20%, according to estimates by the CDC. In response to this trend, the number of pharmacists certified for vaccination has increased rapidly over the past few years. In 2007, only 40,000 pharmacists nationwide were certified to give vaccines; this number more than doubled to 100,000 pharmacists in 2009 and 150,000 pharmacists in 2011. As more people get their vaccines in pharmacies, they are acknowledging the clinical competencies of pharmacist as healthcare providers. The flu season provides a good opportunity for the advancement of the profession and helping pharmacists make the case for healthcare provider status. References: “Flu epidemic reaches epidemic proportions in US.” Fox News. 11 January 2012. Available from: <http://www.foxnews.com/ health/2013/01/11/flu-reaches-epidemic-proportions-in-us/> Gold, Jenny. “Pharmacies Inject Convenience Into Flu Shot Market.” NPR. 10 October 2011. Available from: <http://www.npr.org/blogs/ health/2011/10/10/141153165/pharmacies-inject-convenience-into-flushot-market> Pharmacists Immunization in New Jersey. Presentation by Linda Gooen, PharmD, MS, CCGP, CCP Available from: <http://aapnj.org/ uploadfiles/documents/2012/NJIN/January%20Meeting%20PowerPoint.pdf
EMSOP News and Pharmacy Events on Campus
Two New Dual SNPhA Reaches Out to Local Degree Options Schools to Advocate for Pharmacy healthcare providers, but also one of the Wu, P1 Set to Start byOverVivian most trusted. Patients need someone who winter break, Student National by Christina Zikos, P2 The School of Pharmacy is preparing to launch two new exciting options for dual degree tracts. In July, the PharmD/ JD and PharmD/MD dual degree options will become available. Students will be eligible to apply for the program during their P2 year. In the respective programs, some PharmD coursework will apply towards the JD degree, but the MD program will not be abridged. Rather, the MD program will be unique in its interdisciplinary approach, consistent with the administration’s belief that integrated education for health professionals will deliver the best results for a cooperative health care setting yielding to optimal treatment of patients. An information session for dual degree options at EMSOP will be held on April 4th with Dr. DeSantis, hosted by Phi Delta Chi.
Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) members visited local high schools to advocate for the profession of pharmacy, its extensive diversity of job opportunities, and most importantly, the critical role pharmacists have in the community.
On January 8th and 14th, SNPhA’s High School Outreach committee made visits to New Brunswick High Tech High School and East Brunswick High School. At both of these schools, the student bodies are comprised of a large portion of applicants to Rutgers University. Committee members stood in front of junior and senior classes, consisting of about 85 students, and emphasized the flexibility of a Pharm. D. degree and different career paths they can expect upon graduation from the pharmacy program. Another significant topic the members stressed was the importance of pharmacists’ roles in the community setting. The avid SNPhA committee pointed out that pharmacists are not only one of the most easily accessible
they can depend upon and turn to for help in finding the best and most affordable medications and in determining the most suitable healthcare insurance plans. Because the various roles of pharmacists are not fully realized by the public, there is also a lack of knowledge about the profession in the younger generations. This ongoing issue of the general community’s unawareness towards pharmacists is the main reason SNPhA has such ambition and passion in these events. As pharmacy students and future pharmacists, we must begin to advocate for our profession because the reality is that if we do not, then no one else will. It is imperative for the community to be fully aware of our roles and contributions. Only then can the future generation of pharmacists attain more authority, and be recognized and respected as established healthcare providers.
Editors-in-Chief: Ashley Brower & Christina Zikos Assistant Editors: Jennifer Kim, Jazmin Turner, Yingzhi G Zhang Layout Editors: Stacy Lee, Maryann Torres Contributing Editor: Yixin Lin Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in EMSOP Chronicles do not reflect the views of the Pharmacy Governing Council or Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy. For questions, comments, and information on how to get involved, e-mail