Monday, June 26, 2006

Viagra helps performance in more ways than one

Here's an interesting article about another potential use for Viagra. Pharamcologically, I understand what they are saying and see how it could work. And it's a sure headline grabber for any cagey newspaper editor.

From the Ottawa Citizen:
U.S. scientists, looking for a way to help soldiers perform in Afghanistan's mountains, have found a miracle pill that safely helps the heart and lungs work at high altitudes - Viagra.

In tests on cyclists in the thin air of high altitudes, it helped may men ride taller in the saddle, though it didn't boost the performance of everyone. ...more

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Army wants medical recruits

We knew there was a shortage of pharmacists in the civilian world. Now it's spread to the military:

From the Toronto Star:
The Canadian Forces are hunting for nearly 300 medical personnel to serve at home, overseas and to staff the coalition hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and they're hoping lucrative signing bonuses will help bring in some new recruits.

"We are short 50 per cent of the pharmacists we need. The role of pharmacists is not just what you see happening in Shoppers Drug Mart. They manage our equipment. They co-ordinate all our supplies in and out of theatre. They handle some of our other medications and vaccinations we use to protect our soldiers that you might not use in the civilian environment."

Friday, June 23, 2006

US women may be part of reason sales of Plan B spiked in Canada

It seems rather unlikely to me, but a newspaper article suggests that American women are buying a lot of Plan B from Canadian online pharmacies.

From the Boston Globe:
Since Canadian regulators waived prescriptions for Plan B last year, sales of the emergency contraceptive have nearly doubled, and some of the additional customers are probably American women. ...more

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Canadian researchers cure Huntington's disease in genetically altered mice

Maybe this is not directly pharmacy related, but I thought it was a pretty cool medical story so I thought I'd post it here:

From CBC News:
Canadian researchers have unlocked the molecular secret that eliminates the symptoms of Huntington's disease in mice, a landmark discovery that is offering new hope for preventing the devastating effects of the inherited disorder in humans.

A team of scientists from the University of British Columbia have discovered that by preventing the cutting, or "cleavage," of a protein responsible for Huntington's in genetically altered mice, the symptoms of the disease do not develop and the animals exhibit normal brain function. ...more

Dispute blocks cancer drug

From the Globe and Mail:
One of the world's most costly cancer drugs will not be marketed in Canada because the distributor can't charge the price it wants -- one a federal board has found to be too high.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada has taken the unusual move of not launching the colorectal cancer drug Erbitux after it could not agree on a price with the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. The drug was approved by Health Canada nine months ago. ...more

Minister must go: Liberals

From the Ottawa Sun:
The Liberals are calling for Health Minister Tony Clement's resignation after revelations he hired a campaign aide on a department contract immediately after he was appointed to cabinet. ...more

So does anyone out there know when Gord Haugh was hired by CIPA? Was it before, during, or after his federal contract?

Pharmacist 'scripts safe, group says

It looks like the turf war between pharmacists and physicians could heat up over the next few months. Today the RxA fired a response back to the physician groups in a press release.

“RxA is gravely concerned about how the AMA and CPSA have called into question the professionalism of Alberta pharmacists in comments made to their members and in the media, and the impact that may have on the public trust of pharmacists. The public has every reason to trust that their health and safety will be respected and protected by Alberta pharmacists,” said RxA CEO Barry Cavanaugh.

It's interesting to note that physicians have tried the scattershot approach to attack pharmacist prescribing. First there is mention of competency, then the talk turns to questioning a pharmacist's commercial interests, then the comments about liability concerns. It seems to me that they are throwing a lot against the wall and trying to see what sticks.

Why is it assumed by some that pharmacists are going to prescribe for their personal gain and that it's a conflict of interest? I have never heard anyone question veterinarians about this before. Vets have been prescribing and dispensing most of their own items for years.

I think physicians are raising some points that need to be considered, but I wish they would give pharmacists a bit more credit.

More from the
Calgary Sun

Thursday, June 01, 2006

New regulations let pharmicists prescribe drugs

After years of lobbying, pharmacists in Alberta have been granted the ability of prescribe medications. The press release by the Alberta College of Pharmacists is located >here.

Health Minister Iris Evans stated, "Expanding the scope of practice for pharmacists is an example of the innovation possible in the health system to enable competently trained health professionals to use all of their education
and expertise to benefit Albertans."

Individuals with chronic or recurring conditions will be the primary beneficiaries of the new authority, in particular the authority for pharmacists to prescribe. For example, when an individual with asthma runs out of their medication and is unable to see their physician, the pharmacist will be able to provide an inhaler for use until the patient's appointment with their doctor.

It sounds like positive news, but the next question is how will these changes be implemented? What kind of courses will be required? I would suspect that a separate type of "prescribing pharmacist" license will also be required. It sounds like the College will have a lot of details to announce over the next few months.

Here's a link to the Edmonton Journal article regarding the legal changes...New regulations let pharmicists prescribe drugs