As previously mentioned here…not only are these closed pharmacy networks and mail order mandates bad for consumers, they are bad for your local, independent pharmacies as well…here is why!
A National Community Pharmacy Association (NCPA) study has found that the Medicare Part D program and taxpayers often pay more when prescription drugs are obtained through “preferred” pharmacies and mail order than they would if the same prescriptions were filled through other, “non-preferred” pharmacies. According to the NCPA cost comparison using the Medicare Plan Finder website:
89% of the time, preferred pharmacy costs to Medicare were higher than those of non-preferred pharmacies.
100% of the time, mail order costs to Medicare exceeded those of non-preferred pharmacies.
“This analysis suggests that neither preferred pharmacies nor mail order are the bargains for Medicare that their proponents claim,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, Pharmacist, MBA. “We commend CMS (the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) for its recent, enhanced scrutiny of both preferred pharmacy plans and mail order. We encourage the agency to follow through on its proposed changes, which should produce greater choice and pharmacy competition for beneficiaries in 2015.”
The results of the 2013 Gallup Poll on honesty and ethics have been released, and pharmacists were rated as the second most honest and ethical profession, following nurses. Historically, pharmacists have scored at or near the top of the list since the poll was started (periodically since 1976, annually since 1990).
This year, 70% of poll takers reported that pharmacists have “very high” or “high” honesty and ethical standards. This number is down a bit from last year’s high of 75%. Nurses scored 82%, and grade school teachers were tied with pharmacists at 70%. Medical doctors came in at 69%.
Gallup reports that this year, ratings of honesty and ethics in the clergy dropped to a new low of 47% —the first time the rating has dropped below 50% since Gallup asked about clergy in 1977.
The lowest-scoring professions, in terms of honesty and ethics, were lobbyists (6% rated “high” or “very high”), members of Congress (8%), and car salespeople (9%). Other low-scoring professions included state officeholders (14%), advertising professionals (14%), and lawyers (20%).
A 2-year study found an advantage for patients receiving pharmacist counseling when compared with standard treatment. As measured by patient mean glycosylated hemoglobin (A1C) levels, a statistically significant improvement (P = 0.009) of –1.24 was sustained over the period of the study.
The study was a preliminary analysis presented by pharmacists of the Scott & White Health Plan based in Austin, TX. At the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition, John J. Ko, PharmD, MS, and colleagues described how pharmacists placed in an ambulatory care setting were given regular opportunities to communicate with patients with diabetes. Pharmacists were able to adjust medication levels and deliver education aimed at fostering patient self-management of their condition.
The investigators followed 75 patients in a control group matched on age, gender, and condition with 75 patients in a medication management group. In addition to assessing A1C levels, Ko and colleagues also looked at drug costs and claims for medical services. While drug costs were lower for controls, medical claims were not greatly different between the two groups.
The researchers anticipate that patients in the medication management program will experience increased benefits over the next 5 to 10 years of treatment, with potentially more dramatic cost reductions than shown in this preliminary analysis. Patients selected for the study had type 2 diabetes and were classified as “high risk.”
APhA News You Can Use
Most heart attacks happen in the morning. For some, a daily low-dose of aspirin may lower this risk. While many take aspirin in the morning, it may be more effective if taken at bedtime.
The American Heart Association recommends that people at high risk of heart attack and heart attack survivors regularly take low-dose aspirin (if told to do so by their healthcare provider). Aspirin thins the blood and helps prevent clotting.
New research suggests that the best time to take aspirin for heart therapy may be right before going to sleep at night.
“Talk to your doctor about low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attack.”
Tobias Bonten, MD, from the Department of Clinical Epidemiology at Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands, and colleagues discovered that a sign of higher heart risk was reduced in patients who took aspirin at night compared to those who took it in the morning.
From a group of 290 patients with previous cardiovascular disease, patients were randomly selected to receive either 100 milligrams of aspirin upon waking or at bedtime over the course of two three-month periods.
At the end of each treatment period, blood pressure was recorded and platelet reactivity was measured.
Platelets are specialized disk-shaped cells in the bloodstream that are involved in the formation of blood clots and play an important role in heart attacks and strokes. Platelets can detect a disruption in the lining of a blood vessel and react to build a wall to stop bleeding.
Higher platelet activity contributes to a higher risk of acute heart events, according to Dr. Bonten.
From their study, Dr. Bonten and colleagues noted that platelet activity was reduced by 22 aspirin reaction units (as measured by the VerifyNow Aspirin assay) in the group taking bedtime aspirin compared to the morning aspirin-taking group. Values that show therapeutic benefit of aspirin are in the range of 350-549 ARU (aspirin reaction units), according to VerifyNow. Any ARU reading of 550 and higher is in the non-therapeutic range.
“We know that aspirin works so well to prevent cardiovascular diseases because it inhibits blood platelets. However, these blood platelets are more active during morning hours, when the most heart attacks and strokes also happen,” Dr. Bonten told dailyRx News.
“Although we did not look at the actual occurrence of heart disease and strokes during the morning hours, we think that taking aspirin at bedtime could potentially reduce the occurrence of these diseases during the morning hours. A confirmation of this hypothesis still has to be confirmed by future research,” Dr. Bonten said.
Although blood pressure was not reduced in this study, the authors pointed out that recent investigations of subjects with mild hypertension showed that aspirin intake at bedtime may significantly decrease blood pressure compared with intake on awakening.
“This study is of major interest to millions of patients worldwide taking low-dose aspirin on a daily basis,” the authors wrote. “If switching to intake of aspirin at bedtime reduces blood pressure and morning peak of platelet reactivity, simply changing this time of intake could make the use of this drug even more effective in preventing recurrent [cardiovascular disease] without any additional costs.”
In additional comments to dailyRx News, Dr. Bonten said, “We found that the adverse effects of aspirin [mostly stomach pain] did not increase when aspirin was taken at bedtime, compared with on awakening. So it seems safe with respect to these side effects to take aspirin at bedtime.”
An abstract for this study was presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in November. The entire study is still under review of a major medical journal and not yet published.
We are featured as a new business in the Johns Creek Herald Holiday edition… (link here, read below). For those local Johns Creek residents, open up to page 19!
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — When Johns Creek residents Jennifer and Michael Shannon set out to open their own pharmacy in North Georgia, the couple knew they wanted to offer something wholly unique from the big box drug store chains.
The Shannons took a cue from the old-fashioned values of the “mom and pop” pharmacies of yesteryear, blended them with some of the latest technological advances and mixed in Dr. Jennifer Shannon’s experience as a clinical pharmacist with Michael’s head for business.
To their team, they added another talented clinical pharmacist, Dr. Jenna Ferrara, and on Oct. 30, Lily’s Pharmacy officially opened its doors.
Located at 11670 Jones Bridge Road – where Jones Bridge intersects with Kimball Bridge – Lily’s Pharmacy offers free delivery within the pharmacy’s service area, an after-hours emergency contact line, private consulting room and personalized medications through compounding.
“We are not your run-of-the-mill chain pharmacy,” said Jennifer. “We are committed to providing an unparalleled level of care.”
Visit www.lilyspharmacy.com for more information.
Dec. 12, 2013 - JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – Johns Creek residents and business owners – Jennifer and Michael Shannon – have a great deal to celebrate in the New Year. In just the past few months, they welcomed a second daughter and opened their first business – Lily’s Pharmacy. Now, they would like to share that celebration with their neighbors in the North Fulton community. All throughout the week of January 20-25, 2014, Lily’s Pharmacy will play host to a “New Year, New Pharmacy” Open House.
Located at 11670 Jones Bridge Road – at the corner of Jones Bridge and Kimball Bridge – Lily’s Pharmacy will welcome guests of its “New Year, New Pharmacy” Open House with prizes, give-aways, refreshments, games, balloons, kid-friendly activities, and interactive stations to demonstrate the wide variety of services Lily’s has to offer its patients. Some examples of the interactive stations include a “What is Compounding?” table where kids can try their hand at making drug-free compounded lollipops and an “Enhanced Services” table which demonstrates a few of the special offerings at Lily’s, such as immunizations, health screenings, physician collaboration, and more. Jennifer Shannon and Jenna Ferrara represent Lily’s team of clinical pharmacists who will be on-hand to provide free blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol screenings in a private consultation room. As proponents of the “Shop Local” initiative, the Shannons will also have crafts and gifts designed by local artisans for sale during the Open House.
“Even though we’ve only been open a short time – and the majority of that was during the holiday season – the reception from our neighbors in the North Fulton community has been truly wonderful thus far,” explains Michael Shannon, owner of Lily’s Pharmacy. “They can see that we are a Johns Creek family who wants to bring value and quality care to other Johns Creek families. Whether they’ve had a chance to stop by or not, we welcome everyone to visit us during our Open House to have some fun while learning about how Lily’s can improve patient care and bring better quality care to Johns Creek. We hope that once they’ve had a chance to meet us and see what we have to offer their families, they will make the choice to move to a new pharmacy in the New Year. Not only do we accept all insurance – including CVS/Caremark, Express-Scripts, Medco, Medicare Part D, Aetna, United Healthcare, Humana, Assurant Health, Cigna, Kaiser Permanente, etc. – but we also provide everything the big box pharmacy chains offer and a whole lot more.”
Along with personalized care, these are just a few of the services Lily’s Pharmacy offers to fit the needs of its growing customer base:
- Free Monthly Supply of Vitamins for Children of Patients who Order or Transfer their Prescriptions to Lily’s Pharmacy
- Free Delivery Within Pharmacy’s Service Area
- 24/7 Emergency Contact Line
- A Private Consulting Room
- Personalized Medications Through Compounding
- Online Refills and Drive-Thru For Quick Service
- The Flexibility Of An Independent Pharmacy
From now through January 25, each time a new patient transfers a prescription to Lily’s Pharmacy, their name will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of two Grand Prizes: 1st Prize – Google Chromecast + 32” Flat-screen TV and 2nd Prize – Kindle Fire HD. Of course, there’s no need to wait until the “New Year, New Pharmacy” Open House to visit Lily’s Pharmacy. Special offers available from now through January 25 include: $5 off in-store items when a guests shares their Google or Yelp review of Lily’s Pharmacy with the staff and $5 off in-store items when a current patient refers a friend who in turn transfers a prescription to Lily’s Pharmacy. Open House hours will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, January 20 through Thursday, January 23 with extended hours Friday, January 24 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, January 25 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A family-friendly Grand Opening Celebration, complete with ribbon cutting ceremony, is scheduled to take place in Spring 2014. To learn more about Lily’s Pharmacy, its pharmacists and the services it offers, interested parties are encouraged to visit www.lilyspharmacy.com or pop by the store to meet the Shannons during regular hours of operation Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
About Lily’s Pharmacy: Established in October 2013, Lily’s Pharmacy is a unique concept created by entrepreneur Michael Shannon and his wife, Jennifer Shannon, PharmD. Located at 11670 Jones Bridge Road in Johns Creek, the shop is the ideal marriage between the old fashioned values of “mom and pop” drug stores of yesteryear and the latest technological advances. Lily’s Pharmacy strives to put the “care” back into healthcare by providing a free monthly supply of vitamins for its patients’ children, free delivery within pharmacy’s service area, 24/7 emergency contact line, a private consulting room, personalized medications through compounding, online refills and drive-thru for quick service, and the flexibility of an independent pharmacy. To learn more about the menu of tailored services that Lily’s Pharmacy provides, please visit www.lilyspharmacy.com.
All of us at Lily’s Pharmacy want to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving and let you know that we are forever thankful for the patients who have trusted us with their healthcare in our first month! We are blessed to call you all members of the Lily’s family, and wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Lily’s Pharmacy is proud to sell a local Atlanta favorite, Coca-Cola…but we wanted to sell the Pharmacist-invented formula without the liver-toxin, High Fructose Corn Syrup and in a classic glass bottle! There are multiple reasons to come on in and enjoy a classic Coca-Cola with the friendly staff at Lily’s Pharmacy!
I was fortunate to have a patient at the pharmacy on Friday that was inquiring about Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT). She said something to me that struck a cord (she said: “No one, not even my doctor, has explained this to me before”)…so I wanted to share the advice!
BHRT treatment is OK to lessen the effects of menopause and supplement the body with natural hormones during the “change of life” phase that all women go through…but studies have shown that long-term use has been linked to cardiovascular disease and some cancers…so my advice is to seek counsel of your healthcare providers, including your pharmacist, on the benefits and risks of hormone therapy. We can work with your provider to develop a good plan!
Come on in or call for more advice from your friendly neighborhood pharmacist!
Lily’s Pharmacy of Johns Creek is officially open for business! Come on in and say hi and transfer all of your prescriptions! Our friendly pharmacists are here and ready to serve your family!
Check out our YouTube video to see how comfortable & welcoming the pharmacy is! We can’t wait to see you in person!