Top Pharmacy News of 2013

DECEMBER 16, 2013
Daniel Weiss, Senior Editor
Our review of the year’s most popular and important stories in pharmacy—from the push for pharmacist provider status to the ongoing fight against prescription drug abuse.

From a push to attain pharmacist provider status to ongoing efforts to combat prescription drug abuse, 2013 was yet another year filled with pharmacy news. Other major topics ncluded the launch of health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, further findings that pharmacists can help improve patients’ health while saving the health care system money, and new guidelines for determining whether patients should be prescribed statins.
Here are the news stories that have been most popular among Pharmacy Times over the past year, organized loosely by category:
Pharmacist provider status:
At the beginning of 2013, a coalition of pharmacy associations announced that they were banding together to push for a change in the Social Security Act designating pharmacists as patient-care providers eligible for reimbursement under Medicare. The movement hasn’t succeeded yet, but it shows no signs of diminishing.
Pharmacist effectiveness:
Studies, surveys, and algorithms continued to find that pharmacists are widely respected, have among the best jobs in the country, and help improve patient outcomes while saving money.
Prescription Drug Abuse:
Rates of overdose and death due to abuse of prescription drugs—in particular opioids—continued to rise, and the FDA continued to grapple with how to help prevent this abuse.
Launch of insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act:
The federal insurance exchange website may not have been ready for primetime, but pharmacies across the country had spent months preparing to help patients make the most of the opportunities offered under health care reform.
Cardiovascular health:
New guidelines for determining who should take statins proved quite controversial, and there was a steady stream of newsworthy studies on treatment of heart conditions as well as the effects of medications on cardiovascular health.
In a year in which the CDC found that antibiotic-resistant infections kill tens of thousands of Americans each year, antibiotics were frequently in the news.
Pharmacists play an important and growing role in providing vaccinations, which are key to warding off potentially deadly infectious diseases.
Odds and ends:
A number of our most popular stories defied categorization.

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