From the Publisher: Summer Reading

Mike Hennessy
Published Online: Monday, June 15, 2009
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NEWS FROM THE PUBLISHER

Summer Reading

Each June brings warm weather and summer barbecues to most of the country, customers seeking sunburn treatments and cold sore remedies, and Pharmacy Times' annual issue devoted to women's health.

Although we can't help too much with the grilling advice (cook thoroughly?) or (sun) baking, we have done our best in this issue to give pharmacists the tools they need to help answer the many different questions they may get from their female patients. All of the topics you're most likely to be asked about are addressed here, including oral contraceptives (page 40), urinary tract infections (page 42), and HPV vaccination (page 36), just to name a few.

This month's continuing education lesson, "Osteoporosis: 'Need-to-Knows' for Pharmacists About Bone Health," comes at a good time. Recent data released by CVS/Caremark indicate that 87% of women aged 18 and older with osteoporosis taking a drug therapy to treat the disease did not experience a fracture during a 2-year study period. Alarmingly, women with osteoporosis between the ages of 18 and 64 who were not on therapy were 5.7 times more likely to experience a fracture.

This finding may seem obvious, but it gets to the heart of the pharmacist's role in overall efforts to reform health care, all while cutting costs and improving quality. No matter what shape national health care reform ultimately takes, it will be fruitless without the intervention of the skilled, knowledgeable workforce that interacts most frequently with patients. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, osteoporosis-related fractures were responsible for an estimated $19 billion in costs in 2005, and this cost is expected to increase to $25.3 billion by 2025. Nearly 8 million women in the United States have osteoporosis, and millions more have low bone mass, putting them at increased risk of developing the disease.

In the coming months, our readers will notice an increased focus on the issues facing hospital and other health-system pharmacists. We also will be spotlighting companies driving innovation in pharmacy care in a multipart series. Though our first innovator, automation pioneer Parata, will be in the technology space, our series will be using profiles and case studies to look at all aspects of pharmacy innovation. Please reach out to us if you would like to recommend a specific company that you consider a leader-whether in technology, patient care, medication therapy management, services for the pharmacist, specialty pharmacy, or any other category that touches the profession.

As always, we look forward to your feedback on how we can better serve you. And, if you choose to read us (instead of that potboiler) at the beach or the barbecue, don't forget the sunblock. Thank you for reading.



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