Scruples and Drams: Pharmacy Newsletter for March 24, 2022

by Marketouch BACK TO BLOG.

OP ED: The Issues with ‘Test to Treat’

Pharmacy and health organizations are asking FDA to rethink key components that would expand access.

In order to be effective, the two approved oral antiviral medications (Paxlovid and Molnupiravir), must be started within 5 days of being symptomatic for COVID-19.  The current logistical process from diagnosis to starting therapy has been too complex and too timely for most patients to participate. This logjam has caused millions of doses of these treatments to be sitting, unused, on shelves.  For example, 86% of the ordered doses of Merck’s antiviral pill,  Molnupiravir, are waiting to be dispensed.

The bottom line, access to these life saving oral medications needs to improve.

To address this gap in care, during his State of the Union address, President Biden laid out plans to launch a pharmacy-centered “Test to Treat” initiative.  “Test to Treat” is intended to improve access to oral antiviral medications and speed up the time to starting therapy. 

“Test to Treat” is falling short of its intended results.

Currently only physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants can prescribe COVID-19 antiviral pills for those people who test positive for the virus. This prescriber restriction limits the number of pharmacy locations that can service COVID positive patients and adds an unnecessary step in the dispensing process.  The FDA has prohibited pharmacists themselves from being able to prescribe these life-saving COVID-19 antiviral medications, ironically even after the pharmacy has performed the COVID-19 diagnostic test.

Who better than pharmacists?

Community pharmacists have been a vital part of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Most community pharmacies are trusted members of their communities and have excellent relationships with their patients.  9 in 10 Americans live within 5 miles of a community pharmacy. Pharmacists are the most qualified healthcare professionals to review any potential drug-drug interactions, make necessary dose adjustments and navigate a patient’s medication and medical history.

Let’s utilize all the tools and willing healthcare team members we have to end the pandemic.

It’s time to #LetUsPrescribe.

Americans Support Federal Action to Prevent Rollback of Access to Their Pharmacies

#LetUsPrescribe MarkeTouch Blog

FDA to Consider Future of COVID Booster Doses, Adding 4th Dose

The FDA announced its vaccines advisory committee will meet April 6 to discuss the future of COVID-19 booster doses and how to tell if a specific strain of the coronavirus needs its own vaccine.

The April 6 VRBPAC meeting is intended to assist the agency in developing a general framework that will inform its regulatory decision-making on:

  • – What might warrant updating the composition of COVID-19 vaccines to address specific variants. 
  • – Timing and populations for COVID-19 vaccine booster doses in the coming months.  

No vote is planned at this meeting and there will not be any discussion of any product-specific applications. 

Moderna and Pfizer last week requested FDA approval for second COVID-19 booster shots. Moderna’s request was for all adults, and Pfizer’s was for those 65 and older.

FDA News Release

Livestream FDA 6 APR 22 VRBPAC Meeting

Making the Switch to Permanent Standard Time

On Wednesday, March 9, the United States Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on daylight saving time. The committee experts debated the impact of changing the clocks twice a year and debated whether it is necessary. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine emphasizes that these seasonal time changes should be halted they support the adoption of year-round standard time.  Click the link below to read from AASM.

AASM Position on Time Changes

MarkeTouch Media Attending AMCP Annual Conference in Chicago

AMCP 2022 is expected to attract thousands of managed care decision-makers from 3/29-4/1.

Will you be there? 

MarkeTouch was founded with the goal of being a premier provider for pharmacy patient engagement services.  Today, MarkeTouch has added cutting-edge member and prescriber engagement technologies which create value and differentiation that will drive your PBM or health plan growth goals. 

Join MarkeTouch, while you are in Chicago, to learn about  transforming your formulary performance, member health outcomes and member experience.  If you are looking to:

  • – redefine your member experience
  • – achieve high formulary compliance
  • – enhance member engagement
  • – support your clinical initiatives and programming
  • – grow your brand awareness
  • – implement cost saving operational efficiencies

Please call or email using the links below to set a convenient meeting time at AMCP2022.

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