One of the most important factors on patients’ minds is affordability of care. According to a recent McKinsey study, 72 percent of consumers are concerned about at least one kind of health care expense, be it related to health insurance, routine medical procedures, end-of-life care or otherwise. As it pertains to prescriptions, patients carry these affordability concerns from their providers’ offices to the pharmacy. More often than not, ...

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This year Oklahoma voters made a clear choice to legalize medical marijuana, joining thirty other states that permit cannabis for medicinal use. Unsurprisingly, immediately in the vote’s aftermath, patients began asking me to "prescribe" medical marijuana licenses, as the new law stipulates users must have as a precondition for legal purchase. The new law does not, however, specify qualifying diagnoses for which medical marijuana might be clinically indicated. My answer ...

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No news is good news. Especially for hospitals in the middle of the opioid epidemic. Recently, the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) agreed to a civil penalty in the amount of $4.3 million for failing to prevent opioid drug diversion and federal recordkeeping violations as a result of a DEA investigation. The headline from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Michigan read: “Eastern District of ...

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While walking through the duty-free at Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC, I happened upon the price tag of an imported French purse. Looking around, I wondered how many travelers could afford a $2,000 handbag.At the gate, I found a seat and logged on to the internet, where I happened upon a story about the CEO of Nostrum Laboratories, Nirmal Mulye. In an interview, Mr. Mulye explained why he raised the ...

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An excerpt from The Pharmacist is a Whore: How Pharmacists Lost Control of Their Profession and Why You Should Care. The day patients became customers was a black day for us all. Don’t get me wrong, pharmacy has always been a service profession, and we take that ...

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Prior authorizations (PAs) have become increasingly burdensome for providers — they contribute to 92 percent of care delays and an estimated 77 million are submitted manually each year. In fact, the process has become so burdensome that many physicians get fed up with the process end up writing for less-effective prescriptions because they know the preferred drug will require a prior ...

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September 28, 2018 marks 90 years since Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin as an effective antimicrobial which would soon save millions of lives. He warned soon afterwards that unless we used penicillin judiciously, we would see antibiotic resistance, and he was right. With decades of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing, we have dug ourselves a deep hole of antimicrobial resistance, and inaccurate penicillin allergies is but one shovel used to put us ...

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A doctor writes prescription, pharmacist fills prescription, insurance covers prescription. Simple, right? But that’s not the way it works anymore. Some changes are good. Gone are the cryptic abbreviations and illegible handwriting -- replaced by computer printed scripts, or better yet scripts magically transmitted via the ether. But along with fewer errors there’s even less transparency on pricing and coverage. Patients, who haven’t been to pharmacy school and couldn’t possibly decode the pages of ...

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In 2016, dispatchers in my hometown of Mansfield — a Rust Belt city in rural North Central Ohio — fielded over 363 overdose-related police calls. The community organized an opiate response team, created to help individuals following an overdose, which could only respond to those experiencing their second overdose. Around the country, small towns and rural communities are making heroic efforts to prevent opioid-related overdose deaths. But matching action by ...

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What is it? Kratom is a powdered herbal supplement derived from the leaves of a tropical evergreen tree that is native to Southeast Asia and is usually taken orally but can also be brewed into teas. It is commonly used by consumers as an alternative medicine to self-treat opioid addiction and chronic pain.  The leaves contain two compounds, mitragynine and 7-a-hydroxymitragyine, which interact with various receptors in the brain. At low doses the ...

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