Most Popular Pharmacy Stories You Probably Missed This Week

Make sure to check out these not-to-be-missed pharmacy headlines from this week.

Make sure to check out these not-to-be-missed pharmacy headlines from this week.

5. 3 Things Pharmacists Should Know About Complicated Grief

Complicated grief is a severely under-recognized public health problem. About 7% of individuals in bereavement develop complicated grief, a serious, prevalent, and frequently chronic and debilitating condition that requires recognition and treatment.

Clinical depression, on the other hand, is a fairly common illness, with a lifetime prevalence of 25% in women and 12% in men. Unfortunately, only about one-third of those with clinical depression seek medical treatment, and far fewer patients with complicated grief pursue it.

The US Preventive Services Task Force recently updated its recommendations for depression screening in adults. Although it didn’t endorse a specific screening method, evidence from previous research suggests that pharmacists, as members of a collaborative care team, can play an important role in depression screening services.

Here are some must-know facts about complicated grief:

1. It often prevents patients from healing while they’re in mourning.

2. It isn’t only caused by a loved one’s death.

3. Treating it with antidepressants isn’t always appropriate.

4. Why Can’t Rotation Sites Pay Student Pharmacists a Stipend?

The short answer is: the accreditation document says so.

On the one hand, PharmD students can now reasonably earn a doctorate in 6 years instead of 5 years of undergraduate pharmacy school plus 2 years of doctoral training—a savings of 1 year. On the other hand, PharmD students spend their fourth professional (P4) year doing rotations and trying to squeeze in time for their previous intern position at an intern’s pay, rather than a pharmacist’s.

By providing stipends, student pharmacists would know ahead of their P4 year what income they could earn outside of a part-time job. A P4 year without the burden of a part-time job might provide more students the opportunity to excel in their rotations and earn a postgraduate position. Often, these rotation blocks provide de facto interviews for the student.

3. 30 Pharmacy Staff Members Arrested in Money Laundering Scheme

About 30 pharmacists, pharmacy managers, and other staff members were recently arrested in connection to a health care fraud and money laundering investigation.

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution and the Miami-Dade Police Department announced in a press release that the arrested pharmacists, pharmacy managers, technicians, straw owners, and check-cashers were from 3 different organizations, but they all allegedly used pharmacies to defraud the Medicare Part D program.

“This was a complex scheme designed to defraud the Medicare program, hide the evidence, and conceal the identities of those involved,” Bondi stated. According to a press release, “Once Medicare submitted the reimbursements to the pharmacy, defendants immediately laundered the funds in an attempt to mask the source of the money and elude subsequent administrative and law enforcement investigations.”

Those accused of the crime apparently also moved funds between accounts “without legitimate business purposes” and cashed reimbursement checks at check-cashing stores.

2. Gluten Content of Top 200 Drugs: Key Information for Pharmacists

About 18 million Americans with gluten sensitivities and about 1 in 133 Americans with celiac disease may be trying to avoid gluten in their dietary intake, but they should also be aware that some of their medications may contain gluten.

For patients with celiac, consuming gluten can lead to gastrointestinal upset, headache, weight loss, osteoporosis, depression, and infertility. Even consuming 30 mg to 50 mg of gluten can lead to adverse effects, so patients not only have to look out for the protein in food and medications, but also be vigilant about products like lip balm.

On the legislative side, Ohio State Representative Tim Ryan introduced a bill in 2013 that would require companies to disclose gluten as an ingredient in medication labels. It was reintroduced again by Rep. Ryan and New York Congressman Nita Lowey in 2015, but GovTrack.us stated that it had a 0% chance of being enacted.

Allison King, PharmD, an investigational drug services pharmacist and postgraduate year 1 residency coordinator at Children’s Mercy Hospital, told Pharmacy Times that awareness and concern for gluten content in medications is increasing. Despite this expanded interest, however, it’s still hard for patients to determine whether their medications contain gluten.

“It is not as simple as looking at the ingredients and seeing if gluten is listed as a product,” Dr. King said. “The source of ingredients, like starch, are the real places to find gluten.”

1. Burglar Presumably Snoozed in Pharmacy Overnight

A burglar was able to access a CVS pharmacy with minimal effort. He simply walked in while the pharmacy was still open and stayed in hiding until the staff closed up shop.

Stoughton police detective Sgt. Robert Welch told The Enterprise that the man went inside the Massachusetts CVS at 11:26 PM on June 5, 2016, just a few minutes before the pharmacy closed. Then, he hid inside the pharmacy while the staff left.

At 7 AM the next morning, an employee spotted a man running out of the pharmacy. The staff members didn’t notice anything missing until 3 PM that day, but they determined that candy, Red Bull, and razor blades were some of the items unaccounted for in the pharmacy, The Enterprise reported.

The police were called, and officers examined surveillance footage. They came to the conclusion that the man slept in the store, though his hiding spot was out of view of the cameras. The video did show the thief leaving quickly after the staff member opened the doors on June 6, 2016.