Nutrition Awareness Month

Publication
Article
Pharmacy TimesMarch 2024
Volume 90
Issue 3

March is nutrition awareness month important role our diets play in overall health. Although food may not immediately seem like an area for pharmacists to be involved in, the food is medicine movement is aiming to change that by integrating nutrition and overall health care.

Doctor holding bowl with products for heart-healthy diet- Image credit: New Africa | stock.adobe.com

Image credit: New Africa | stock.adobe.com

Approximately 50% of American adults are diagnosed withmat least 1 chronic disease related to nutrition, highlighting the importance of lifestyle interventions to prevent or manage these conditions. Higher consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with better health, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and reduced mortality from cardiovascular disease.1

In addition to building community partnerships to help patients struggling with food insecurity, pharmacists play a vital role in identifying social determinants of health among their patients. Pharmacists have successfully built screening methodologies for issues including food insecurity, transportation challenges, and housing insecurity, allowing them to proactively refer patients to local community organizations that can help. One of this month’s features further examines the history of the food is medicine movement, its connection to health care, and what pharmacists can do to get involved.

The second feature, written by Joanna Lewis, PharmD, MBA, discusses the importance of 340B audit readiness for contract pharmacies. Although the 340B Drug Pricing Program is typically a focus for health systems, the growth of contract community pharmacies has become a crucial piece of the program. Lewis points out that the number of retail pharmacies with contracts has grown from 789 in 2009 to 25,755 in 2022.2

Preparedness for audits hinges on documentation, data review, and internal auditing. Lewis outlines the necessary documentation to have ready, best practices for internal audits, and special requirements and reminders.

Elsewhere in this issue, the Legislative Focus column by Ali S. Abud and Joseph L. Fink III, JD, DSc (Hon), BSPharm, FAPhA, discusses the issues and debate surrounding mandatory vaccinations for health care workers. This issue was front and center during the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted the balance between patient safety and workers’ rights.

In a new offering, we are introducing a Pharmacy Policy page directly in response to your demands for more statelevel policy updates. Each month, this page will highlight a few legislative updates from around the country. This month includes California’s Assembly Bill 1286, the growth of e-prescribing, and New Jersey’s pilot program for opioid antidotes.

As always, thank you for reading

Reference
  1. Donohue JA, Severson T, Martin LP. The food pharmacy: theory, implementation, and opportunities. Am J Prev Cardiol. 2021;5:100145. doi:10.1016/j.ajpc.2020.100145
  2. Nikpay S, McGlave CC, Bruno JP, Yang H, Watts E. Trends in 340B Drug Pricing Program contract growth among retail pharmacies from 2009 to 2022. JAMA Health Forum. 2023;4(8):e232139. doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2023.2139
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