5 Trending Pharmacy Stories to Read This Weekend

Make sure to check out this week's not-to-be-missed pharmacy headlines.

Make sure to check out this week’s not-to-be-missed pharmacy headlines.

5. What Would You Do If You Could No Longer Work as a Pharmacist?

Many new graduates and current pharmacists want to know what they can do to progress toward more family time and less financial stress. Here are 3 recommendations:

1. Work a second non-pharmacy job that renews and engages you will help change your perspective. It’s a lot cheaper than paying tuition immediately for another degree or starting a business you know little about. You can get the degree later when you’re clear on the direction you want to go.

2. Although its focus is on real estate sales, you’ll gain great value from listening to the Brian Buffini Show, a free podcast that focuses on keeping your spirits high while you’re trying to make a career transition.

3. Stay motivated by others in your profession. Pharmacy Life Radio has tangible advice for making your life significantly better, but you have to want to make the change. Fear from health issues motivated me, and I hope you’ll find the vision of a better life is enough to take a first step toward financial independence.

4. 4 Things to Know About Himalayan Viagra

The Ophiocordyceps sinensis fungus is one of the most expensive and sought-after biological resources, but it’s better known around the world as yartsa gunbu, yarsagumba, or Himalayan Viagra.

Some also refer to it as the caterpillar fungus because it grows out of the head of ghost moth larvae. The parasitic fungus resembles a brown stick or root that develops above ground out of the corpse of the larvae.

The fungus is found in the Tibetan Plateau and in regions like Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan, Bhutan, India, and Nepal, as well as across the southern flank of the Himalayas.

Here are 4 things to know about the fungus, which can cost around $50,000 per pound:

1. It has many purported benefits.

2. Its supply is on the decline

3. Harvesting it nets a pretty good salary

4. It may have caused Chinese athletes to drop out of the Olympics.

3. Pharmacist, Dentist Accused of Shady Pill Exchange

A pharmacist has been accused of scheming with a dentist to prescribe and dispense controlled substances, and then splitting the pills.

Kevin Foster was arrested on June 17, 2016, in the Indianapolis, Indiana, area in connection with a Medicaid fraud case, as well as 5 counts of filling an invalid prescription for legend drugs, Fox 59 reported.

Police say Bernice Avant was the dentist allegedly involved in this scheme. He would write prescriptions for medications like hydrocodone and diazepam under the names of Foster’s relatives.

The pharmacist would then fill these prescriptions at his pharmacy and split the pills with Avant, Fox 59 reported. A pharmacy technician alleged that she saw Foster give the pills to Avant inside the pharmacy, police said. At this point, police don’t believe Foster’s relatives were involved in the scheme.

2. Pharmacists Charged in Largest Health Care Fraud Takedown

Pharmacists were among the 301 individuals charged in the largest health care fraud takedown in history, both in terms of the number of those charged and the amount of money lost.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force found these individuals to be allegedly responsible for $900 million in false billings, stated Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell in a press release.

Some of the alleged crimes were conspiracy to commit health care fraud, violations of the anti-kickback statutes, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft. The schemes involved prescription drugs, durable medical equipment, home health care, psychotherapy, and physical and occupational therapy.

“As this takedown should make clear, health care fraud is not an abstract violation or benign offense—it is a serious crime,” Lynch said in a press release. “The wrongdoers that we pursue in these operations seek to use public funds for private enrichment. They target real people—many of them in need of significant medical care. They promise effective cures and therapies, but they provide none. Above all, they abuse basic bonds of trust—between doctor and patient, between pharmacist and doctor, between taxpayer and government—and pervert them to their own ends.”

1. Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine Shouldn’t Be Used Next Flu Season, CDC Committee Says

The nasal spray flu vaccine sold as FluMist Quadravalent shouldn’t be used in any setting during the 2016-2017 flu season, according to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

This recommendation is based on CDC vaccine effectiveness data from 2013 through 2016 that indicated FluMist Quadrivalent didn’t demonstrate statistically significant effectiveness in children 2 to 17 years old, vaccine manufacturer AstraZeneca confirmed in a press release.

Preliminary data on that age group during the most recent 2015-2016 flu season estimated nasal spray flu vaccine effectiveness against any flu virus at 3%, meaning that no protective benefit could be measured. In comparison, flu shots showed a vaccine effectiveness estimate of 63% against any flu virus in the same age group. Other non-CDC study findings support the conclusion that the nasal spray flu vaccine was less effective than flu shots this influenza season.

CDC data from the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 flu seasons also showed poor or lower than expected vaccine effectiveness for the nasal spray flu vaccine. AstraZeneca is now working with the CDC to better understand its data to help ensure that eligible patients continue to receive the vaccine in future flu seasons.

The ACIP continues to recommend annual flu vaccination with either the inactivated influenza vaccine or recombinant influenza vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. The CDC will be working with vaccine manufacturers throughout the summer to ensure there’s enough supply to meet the demand during the 2016-2017 flu season.