Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Health Canada warns consumers of recall of Octreotide Acetate Omega 500 �g/mL due to possible mislabelling

Health Canada is warning consumers not to use the prescription drug Octreotide Acetate Omega 500 µg/mL from lot number 5J970 as some vials from this lot may mistakenly contain the antipsychotic drug fluphenazine. ...more

Monday, January 30, 2006

Some refuse to sell morning-after pill

From the Saskatoon Star Phoenix:
Some Manitoba pharmacists are refusing to sell emergency contraceptives, arguing it's an abortion in a pill.

Pharmacists across Canada have the right to refuse as a "matter of conscience," as long as they refer customers to health-care workers who do offer Plan B. ..more

Canadian online pharmacy sells Tamiflu with no Rx

From CTV News:
A Canadian online pharmacy is offering the influenza flu fighter Tamiflu without a prescription.

Health Canada says it has sent a letter to Canada Drug Delivery which can be found online at www.drugdelivery.ca.

A banner on its home page warns Canadians that stocks of Tamiflu are running out. It says this drug is recommended to protect people against Avian flu. ...more

Note: if you look up Tamiflu on this website, it's not being sold without a prescription from a Canadian pharmacy. It currently has a South African pharmacy as the sole buying option.

Tamiflu at drugdelivery.ca

Shunning Medicare, some seniors still turn to Canada for drugs

From the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal:
Some Ohio seniors are still getting medicine from Canada instead of signing up for the U.S. government's new prescription drug program.

Tens of thousands of elderly participants nationwide, most of them low-income, have been unable to get medicines since the government drug benefit went into effect Jan. 1. Either their registrations were lost, or they were told they had to pay much more than the plans promised.

Others simply haven't signed up, confused by the varying benefits and payments with the dozens of private plans that operate the benefit that's supposed to help about 42 million older and disabled people. ...more

Maybe there is still some hope for the international pharmacy business. It should be interesting to see if the frustration level with the Medicare system continues to build. Also, after half a year it will be more clear as far as which method saves more money.

Friday, January 27, 2006

U of A’s DrugBank gives doctors an information high

From the (University of Alberta) Gateway:
While encyclopedias are left gathering dust on bookshelves, U of A researchers have taken advantage of the Internet’s accessibility by developing an online DrugBank, an extensive catalogue of information covering about 95 per cent of all known drugs.

Dr David Wishart, a University researcher and professor in Computing Science and Biological Sciences, in conjunction with seven other PhD level scientists, biotechnicians and computer scientists, has erected a website that lists both drugs and their corresponding destinations in the human body.

“What distinguishes the DrugBank from other lists of drugs is it includes both drugs and drug targets, or more specifically, what drugs themselves work on,” Wishart explained. “Most doctors, scientists and pharmacists don’t know those specific targets, and so this is something new, something different.” ...more

It's not mentioned in the article for some reason, so here is the URL for DrugBank:

Pharmacists' home visits help patients with meds

From the Vancouver Sun:
Throughout the Fraser Health region, pharmacists are visiting recently discharged hospital patients in their homes, where the health professionals are given permission to peek into medicine cabinets and kitchen cupboards to ensure the patients don't wind up back in hospital because of some medication error.

The innovative program is the only one of its kind in Canada and early results, based on a pilot project in White Rock, indicate that for members of the target group who get the home visits -- seniors prescribed more than six medications -- there are fewer hospital re-admissions and shorter hospital stays when there is a readmission. The University of B.C.-sponsored pilot project also showed that seniors made fewer trips to the emergency department after a pharmacist paid them a home visit. ...more

I think this is an excellent example of how pharmacists can improve patients' health, work in a challenging clinical environment, and save the system money. Hopefully the results of this program will spawn further developments.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Canada Services Ordered To Close

Another American front shop operation for a Canadian pharmacy bites the dust...

Canada Services, the business that helped seniors get cheaper prescriptions from Canada, is being shut down. In court papers filed Monday, Circuit Court Judge William Srstka ruled that the company's work with MediMart, a Canadian pharmacy, is illegal. As such, Brent Christopherson, Canada Services' owner, has been operating a pharmacy without registering or obtaining a permit from the state board of pharmacy. ...more

Monday, January 16, 2006

Headache sufferer finally gets a shot of relief

From the Toronto Star:
There wasn't much left of the real Heidi Hobday after her migraine headaches had taken their toll.

"I had to go to work, no matter how bad the pain," says the 42-year-old executive assistant. "You have to — you medicate and then you go. But it affected every aspect of my life."

Hobday found she couldn't make any plans ahead of time — not even seeing a movie with a friend — because she never knew when a headache would hit. ...more

Interesting...is there anything Botox can't do?

Nevada draws line in Canada drug fight

From the San Diego Union Tribune:
Nevada's law allowing citizens to import prescription drugs from Canada ratchets up the battle that pits states against the federal government and the pharmaceutical industry.

The Nevada law "is going to be the pharmaceutical industry's Alamo," said David MacKay, former executive director of the Canadian International Pharmacy Association. "No other state has passed legislation like this."

The state Pharmacy Board gave approval Thursday to carry out the law, defying the advice of Attorney General George Chanos, who said he favors allowing the imports but warned that the Nevada law is unworkable. ...more

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

No evidence cough syrups work, expert panel says

From Reuters Health:
Over-the-counter cough medicines do little good and may harm children, U.S. experts said in new guidelines released on Monday.

Adults are better off using older nonprescription antihistamines and decongestants to stop the flow of mucus that causes the cough, the American College of Chest Physicians said in its guidelines.

"Cough is the number one reason why patients seek medical attention," Dr. Richard Irwin of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, who chaired the guidelines panel, said in a statement.

"There is no clinical evidence that over-the-counter cough expectorants or suppressants actually relieve cough," Irwin added. ...more

Coroner calls for better drug paper trail

The province's chief coroner issued six pointed recommendations yesterday after reviewing the investigation into the deaths of 11 customers of Hamilton's King West Pharmacy.

Dr. Barry McLellan called for a review of resources dedicated to catching counterfeit drugs in Canada, noting staffing may have to change in order to minimize the risk of fakes getting into the drug distribution system.

McLellan also called for a detailed paper trail to better trace starting from when prescription drugs are made to their sale in drugstores, and for regulations that govern where pharmacists can buy drugs to be "reviewed and if necessary restricted." ...more

The press release detailing all of the recommendationas can be found here.

There is no doubt in my mind that this was real black eye for pharmacists across the country. However, I'm not exactly sure how the recommendations specficially help. There are a lot of rules already in place governing chain of supply that this guy did not follow.

The recommendation that would be a big change is the last one, which would give the college the power to close a health professional's practice down without having to go to court.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Viagra packages to include anti-counterfeit tags

Pfizer Inc., in a move to thwart counterfeit Viagra, on Friday said it has included special radio frequency identification tags on all packages of its anti-impotence pill to verify they are the authentic Pfizer product.

The world's biggest drugmaker said the new technology, which is difficult and costly to duplicate, would create barriers "for criminals who might attempt to counterfeit our products." ...more

Does anyone know if this is going to be added to Canadian product in the near future?

Governor Advocates Canadian Drug Imports

It sounds like Arnold has reconsidered his position on importing Canadian medications. He's written a letter to some Congressman but it doesn't appear like he will do much beyond that.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is urging the federal government to amend current laws restricting the importation by Americans of affordable prescription drugs from Canada and other countries.

In a letter to four ranking US Congressional leaders - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi - the governor acknowledged that his own efforts to lower the cost of prescription drugs have been ''insufficient.''...more

New drug may slow the effects of Alzheimer's

If you're working in community pharmacy, you may get some questions about this during the week.

A study has found that a new drug has the potential to slow down and even modify the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

It's the first time a drug has been found to have the potential to actually slow down, not just treat the symptoms of the disease which affects more than 360,000 Canadians.

Alzheimer's impairs memory and basic abilities, and leads to irreversible brain cell loss.

The new drug, Flurizan, is not on the general market yet, but was studied in patients who are experiencing mild to moderate stages of the disease...more

Pharmacists clamp down on meth ingredients

Manitobans will have to depend on the good will and good judgment of pharmacists to help stop the illegal use of pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in the highly addictive street drug crystal meth.

The Manitoba Pharmaceutical Association yesterday unanimously ratified amendments to provincial Pharmaceutical Act regulations.

Pseudoephedrine will be reclassified as a Schedule 2 substance, which limits its sale to a maximum of 3,600 milligrams at the time of purchase — or two containers, depending upon the size...more

This change in scheduling is now in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba that I know of, but I believe the rules are a bit different in each province.

Druggists overwhelmed / New Medicare drug plan 'glitches' leave pharmacists struggling to fill orders

Is anyone really suprised about this?

Pharmacists say they have been unable to fill prescriptions or have given out drugs without knowing if they will be paid since Medicare's new prescription drug benefit began Jan. 1.

Some customers lacked cards or notification from insurers about their coverage. Computer problems verifying a patient's eligibility, busy help lines and mismatched identification numbers also have hampered the ability of pharmacists to fill orders...more

I'm sure that the new multitude of plans must be driving American pharmacists up the wall. Will the patients get frustrated and go back to Canadian internet pharmacies? If things don't improve, I suspect some will try Canada again.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sonora business is online drugs link

Here's the link to another story about a Canadian internet pharmacy storefront operation, this time in northern California. It's going to be interesting to see how many of these operations are affected by the new Medicare plan.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

New year, new ideas

I hope everyone had a good holiday season and I wish everyone the best in the new year. With the new calender, there will be a few changes coming on this blog. I'm switching the focus from news links only to a more traditional mix of news links and commentary. It's going to take a bit of time to feel out what seems right for me, but look for some changes over the next weeks, including a change in appearance for Canada Pharmacy News. One difference will be the ability to make comments, which should be enabled very soon.

Once again, I wish you all the best in the new year...