5 Can't-Miss Pharmacy Stories from This Past Week

Don't miss out on this week's must-read pharmacy stories!

Don’t miss out on this week’s must-read pharmacy stories!

5. 9 Social Media Tips for Community Pharmacies

Local community pharmacies face a lot of competition from larger chain stores and their big marketing budgets, so they must engage with prospective patients on the platforms and devices they’re using.

According to Pew Research, 72% of adults online actively use Facebook. All too often, a community pharmacy creates a Facebook page or other social media account but doesn’t keep it updated. If your pharmacy understands how to effectively engage on social media, you can cut through the clutter and build relationships with prospective patients.

Here are some tips for getting social:

1. Show patients what makes your pharmacy special

2. Demonstrate your credibility

3. Get visual

4. Be community-centric

5. Offer health tips

6. Show patients you care

7. Engage with patients

8. Host a contest

9. Don’t take patients for granted

4. Pregnant Pharmacist Helps Police Catch Pharmacy Robber

A pregnant pharmacist helped police catch a pharmacy robber after she recognized his voice as a customer who had visited her store earlier that day.

Pharmacist Susan Duffy, who was 6 months pregnant at the time, knew who it was even though the robber, Christopher Kelly, was wearing disposable coveralls and a homemade ski mask, The Daily Record reported.

Kelly entered Overtown Pharmacy around noon, threatened staff with a hammer, and demanded medications and money. He also hit the register with his hammer, which ended up not playing in his favor because it was then too damaged to open.

As the pharmacist filled Kelly’s bag with drugs, he complained at one point about the items she selected to toss into the bag. Duffy later told police that she recognized Kelly’s voice, so they were quickly able to locate the man. Officers found the large stash of drugs in his bag, and he was arrested at this home, The Daily Record reported.

The robber pleaded guilty in Glasgow, Scotland, on March 11, 2016, and he will be sentenced in July 2016.

3. Low Vitamin D May Increase Risk of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Up to 25% of individuals in the United States are affected by nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is the buildup of extra fat in the liver that isn’t caused by alcohol abuse.

Risk factors include being overweight or obese; having diabetes, high cholesterol, or high triglycerides; experiencing rapid weight loss; and having poor eating habits. However, patients can also develop NAFLD without these risk factors.

The journal Medicine recently published a cross-sectional study that shows a relationship between patients with NAFLD and levels of vitamin D and sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in men and postmenopausal women. The researchers investigated the documented role of SHBG in metabolic diseases alone and in relation to vitamin D levels.

Patients who had low 25(OH)D or low SHBG had a higher risk of mild and moderate-severe NAFLD when compared with patients with normal levels. The combined association of low 25(OH)D and low SHBG was more significant for patients with moderate-severe NAFLD and was independent of age, total testosterone, abdominal obesity, diabetes, and lipid profile.

2. First Absorbable Stent for CAD Receives FDA Nod

The FDA has approved Abbott Vascular’s Absorb GT1 Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold System, which is the first coronary artery disease stent that’s designed to be absorbed by a patient’s body.

Manufactured from a biodegradable polymer called poly(L-lactide), the Absorb GT1 BVS is inserted in a patient’s artery during angioplasty. After releasing everolimus to limit the growth of scar tissue, the device is then gradually absorbed over approximately 3 years, leaving behind only 4 small platinum markers to indicate where the tube was inserted.

Adverse events associated with the insertion or use of the Absorb GT1 BVS include allergic reactions to the device materials or medications used in the procedure, infection or irritation at the catheter insertion site, internal bleeding, the development of abnormal connections between arteries and veins, embolism, or other potentially fatal coronary artery complications that may require medical intervention.

1. Supreme Court Rejects Pharmacists’ Refusal to Fill Appeal

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has rejected a case brought by Washington State pharmacists citing religion in refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception. SCOTUS’s refusal to consider the appeal leaves in place regulations adopted in 2007 by the Washington State Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission specifying that pharmacies must dispense all FDA-approved drugs to customers regardless of religious or moral reasons.

In 2012, US District Court Judge Ronald B. Leighton ruled that the 2007 policies violated the religious freedom of pharmacy owners by requiring pharmacies to stock and dispense emergency contraceptives. However, the unanimous 3-judge federal appeals court panel overruled Leighton’s 2012 ruling on July 23, 2015.

SCOTUS’s decision to not hear the case has been lauded by many stakeholders as a victory for patients who deserve access to the medications they need without the interference of a pharmacist’s personal convictions. However, the decision came from a divided court.

Plan B has been available OTC for women of all ages nationwide since 2013. It can lower the risk of pregnancy by as much as 89% if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.