Wholesaler apologizes; grads to learn more; Menighan speaks; manufactures limit access; and new drug helps withdrawal

George Barrett, executive chairman of Cardinal Health, apologized May 15 for the company’s role in facilitating the flow of highly addictive analgesics into the U.S. communities, the first time a corporation has expressed regret for involvement in the opioid crisis.  Speaking before a House Energy and Commerce Committee oversight panel, Barrett said he is sorry the company did not act faster to impede the shipping of millions of hydrocodone and oxycodone drugs to two small pharmacies in West Virginia.

Reported by the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, today’s pharmacy graduates are expected to engage in direct patient care roles through collaborative practice, perform comprehensive medication management, and provide preventive care services.  However, the existing continuing education system may need to be reconstructed to meet the needs of today’s practitioners.   Learning activities that are interactive, use multiple delivery methods, involve multiple exposures, and focus on outcomes considered important by the learner lead to more positive outcomes.

Two members of the American Pharmacists Association, Sondra M. Adkinson, PharmD, CPE, and Nicholas E. Hagermeier, PharmD, PhD, have been appointed to the new Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force recently established through Health and Human Services.  The task force will assess best practices and issue recommendations that address gaps or inconsistencies for managing chronic and acute pain.  APhA supports a comprehensive, integrated approach to the treatment of chronic pain and encourages mechanisms to enhance collaboration between pharmacists and other health care providers.  APhA Executive Vice President and CEO Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm and Past President of the West Virginia Pharmacists Association, noted the combined skill sets of Adkinson and Hagemeier “include significant research contributions specific to the opioid epidemic in rural settings, proficiency in interprofessional relationships and team-based care models, and experience caring for patients in different setting.”

The FDA announced May 17 the names of drugmakers that are limiting access to generic competition by denying access to their products.  The agency released a list of 52 brand name drugs to which generic companies are trying to get access so they can make a cheaper version but say they are having difficulty.   The new list of 52 drugs is part of a larger effort by the Trump administration to clamp down on drug prices.

The FDA has approved lofexidine, known as Lucemyra, to treat opioid withdrawal sympton.  The agency noted that the drug lessens the severity of withdrawal symptoms but doesn’t completely prevent them, so it approved the drug to be prescribed to patients for up to 14 days.