The Future of the Pharmacy World

The Future of the Pharmacy World

The Future of the Pharmacy World

Technology, Knowledge, Medicine

The wave of the future may not include the hover boards as predicted in the popular, 1989 film, Back To The Future II, but the Pharmacy World will be seeing the implementation of tele-pharmacies, pharmacogenomics, smart lenses and the use of radio frequency technology. An incredible service that is being discussed is using radio frequencies via beacons in the parking lot of a pharmacy that will alert the pharmacist via an iPad of typical products that patient buys. This can help increase profitability and repeat customers. As you can see the Pharmacy world is growing and changing rapidly. As independent pharmacists it’s important to stay informed and progress with the times. “The pharmacist’s role has grown and evolved over the years to become more inclusive of patients’ health care needs as a whole. Patients can now look to their pharmacy as a total health care provider, and today’s pharmacists play an important role in improving patient outcomes…

Pharmacists are definitely thinking, talking, and evaluating what the future holds for their profession in the context of all the recent sweeping changes in health care policy” (Pharmacy Times). Dan Benamoz, RPh and CEO of the Palm Beach, FL-based Pharmacy Development Services shared that Alcon and Google are creating a “smart contact lens” that will revolutionize the way patients manage their Diabetes. This lens will be a minimally invasive way to continuously monitor blood glucose levels from a patient’s lacrimal fluid which will communicate these readings with a mobile device via Wi-Fi. Another product, the Hololens by Microsoft, allows Pharmacists to access medical information and prescription information via eyeglasses. It took 5 years to develop and was announced in early 2015. This gives Pharmacists the ability to give immediate counseling and education to patients.

Pharmacogenomics, or the study of the role of genetics predicting drug response, is another up-and-coming theme for Pharmacists and Providers. “The DNA Medical Institute created rHealth, a portable handheld device that can diagnose hundreds of diseases using a single drop of blood. Now, we could be looking at biomarkers to identify early indicators of serious ailments. I think the technology will be used by national labs such as Quest Diagnostics”, Benamoz stated (Drug Topics). About ten million people are currently using tele-pharmacy services, and the number is rising, especially due to the Obama Administration endorsing it. To stay competitive, it’s good to think about offering this service to patients, but make sure the Pharmacy Board in your state approve.

Extra: Step Into The Future With USF’s Health Pharmacy Plus

Not too far from Trxade headquarters, University of South Florida in Tampa is introducing Pharmacy Plus. The Pharmacy of the Future revolutionizes the Pharma industry and catapults it into the future with tools to improve and maximize profits, while minimizing risks. USF Health Pharmacy Plus is a national prototype giving us a preview of what may become the standard for the future, today.

Below are some bullet points from USF’s website on how using technology, knowledge, and medicine the pharmacy of the future plans to improve the quality of the patient’s needs.

Imagine a future where:

+ The pharmacist plays an integral role on your healthcare team.
+ You keep the healthy conversation going with both technology and human interaction.
+ It’s about more than taking a pill. It’s about how we will use innovative new tools to help you live healthier.
+ You receive health advice from your mobile device.
+ Your doctor’s prescription sends you to an online, multimedia learning experience as often as it does to the pharmacy.
+ Medication is personalized specifically for you.
+ You can check your health as easily as you check your email.

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Old Drugs, New Uses Is A Trend

Old Drugs, New Uses Is A Trend

Old Drugs, New Uses Is A Trend

Ursodeoxycholic Acid

It is becoming more and more common to prescribe existing drugs for new uses. Take Lyrica for example; this drug was originally used to treat depression, but it was later discovered that it has therapeutic effects for patients that suffer from pain disorders, such as Fibromyalgia.

This same concept is being suggested for another drug called Ursodeoxycholic Acid (UDCA) or Actigall. The intended use of this drug is for liver disease. It has successfully reduced liver jaundice, ascites, and biliary stasis in patients for decades. It is now believed that this medication can actually slow the onset and progression of Parkinson’s disease. Researchers from the Sheffield Institute of Translational Neuroscience (SITraN) and the University of York studied the effects of this drug on mutated nerve cells of the LRRK2 gene in fruit flies.

This mutation is the most common cause of inherited Parkinson’s disease. Mitochondria in each cell gives the cell energy it needs to function. The LRRK2 mutation prevents mitochondria from functioning properly, leaving is susceptible to neurological diseases, like Parkinson’s. It is estimated that at least 500,000 people in the U.S. have Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Heather Mortiboys of SITraN reports; "We demonstrated the beneficial effects of UDCA in the tissue of LRRK2 carriers with Parkinson’s disease as well as currently asymptomatic LRRK2 carrier. In both cases, UDCA improved mitochondrial function as demonstrated by the increase in oxygen consumption and cellular energy levels” (Medical News Today).

Expect this drug to be in high demand in the near future.

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FDA Review of the use of Codeine for Kids

FDA Review of the use of Codeine for Kids

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) bold statement regarding the use of codeine in children has a struck a cord with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The EMA states that codeine should not be used for children under the age 12. Codeine is an opioid analgesic used to treat pain that can also be found in children’s cold and cough medicine. Codeine is metabolized by the body and turns into morphine. It is a central nervous system depressant that can have dangerous side effects that include; slowed breathing, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, sedation, addiction, bradycardia, syncope, hallucinations, seizures, anaphylaxis, and even death.

Eric Pahon with the FDA in response to EMA’s codeine declaration, “We have looked at their data and feel it is well-presented and seems firm. We are not really recommending anything at the moment. The FDA will continue to evaluate this safety issue and will consider the EMA recommendations”. In the FDA’s defense, they did issue a warning to physicians in 2013 that advised not to prescribe codeine for children after a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy due to a higher risk of breathing complications. But was this warning heard? Was it sufficient?

Since 1999, the FDA reports that 10 children have died and 3 have overdosed on Codeine. The American Academy of Pediatrics is against giving codeine in a cough suppressant. In 2007, the FDA did however talk many pharmaceutical companies into taking over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough drugs off the market for infants. We can’t stop physicians from prescribing these medications to our patients, but we can make sure we thoroughly educate the parents of these children on the dangers of Codeine. We can also educate parents on specific signs and symptoms to look for that may indicate a problem, such as, labored or loud breathing, confusion, and fatigue.


Medication Errors

Medication Errors

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the number one cause of re-admittance to the hospital is non-compliance to medication. The FDA reports that since 1992 they have received notification of a startling 30,000 medication errors and more than 7,000 deaths a year as a result. This count does not include the number of medication errors that go unreported. “One study showed that more than half of patients at hospitals nationwide had an error in their medications, such as the wrong drug, the wrong dosage, the wrong frequency, or a potentially dangerous interaction with another drug” ( One report from the FDA included a situation where a physician ordered a 260mg prep of Taxol, but the patient received 260 mg of Taxotere from the pharmacist instead. This mistake cost the patient their life a few days later. It’s easy to make this type of mistake when we get into a routine. The steps and precautions pharmacists take can become mundane and “second nature”, which can become ineffective and dangerous for patients. When we mindlessly go through the motions, accidents are more likely to occur.

The FDA is working on different strategies to reduce the occurrence of medication errors. Drug name confusion, as in the example above, is a big cause of medication errors. “To minimize confusion between drug names that look or sound alike, the FDA reviews about 300 drug names a year before they are marketed. ‘About one-third of the names that drug companies propose are rejected,’ says Phillips. The agency tests drug names with the help of about 120 FDA health professionals who volunteer to simulate real-life drug order situations. ‘FDA also created a computerized program that assists in detecting similar names and that will help take a more scientific approach to comparing names,’ Phillips says” ( The rejection of certain drug names that sound like a medication already on the market is one action the FDA has taken in the fight against medication errors.

What can you and your pharmacists do to decrease medication errors in your area? How about changing your precautionary steps every quarter to reduce errors due to mundane repetition? What other ideas do you have?

A Hospital Minimizing Risk & Creating Jobs for Pharmacists

I think we can all agree that it will take change and testing different strategies to come up with long term solutions to reducing medication errors. A great idea we came across in an industry blog to reduce medication errors is a new two-part process that the Pharmacy Department at BSA Health System in Amarillo, Texas has implemented. Four pharmacists will now be staffed for patient education upon discharge to ensure patients fully understand how to take their medications before discharge preventing unnecessary readmissions, and four additional pharmacists assigned solely to the ER Department to perform medication use evaluation for each patient. Their goal is by educating and making sure each patient is well informed on the importance of each medication, they hope to see a significant improvement of proper medication usage within their patients including a reduction in medication errors.