Pharmacy Week in Review: APhA Annual Meeting and Exposition, Antiviral Drugs Most Costly by Medicaid Spending


This weekly video program provides our readers with an in-depth review of the latest news, product approvals, FDA rulings, and more. Our Week in Review is a can't miss for the busy pharmacy professional.

This weekly video program provides our readers with an in-depth review of the latest news, product approvals, FDA rulings, and more. Our Week in Review is a can't miss for the busy pharmacy professional.


Hello and welcome to the Pharmacy Times News Network. I’m Nicole Grassano your host for our Pharmacy Week in Review.

Pharmacy Times will be on site this weekend in Seattle, Washington, providing coverage of the American Pharmacy Association’s or the APhA’s Annual Meeting and Exposition. At this gathering of pharmacy professionals and future pharmacy leaders, there will be plenty of opportunities to dive into a number of informative sessions, covering everything from medication therapy management to opioid addiction, and more. Our coverage plan includes topics such as cardiovascular disease risk, diabetes, and immunization. Pharmacy Times Continuing Education will offer 3 courses: 1 on Saturday, March 23, on Advancements in Migraine Therapies, and 2 on Sunday, March 24, on the Clinical Benefits of Antiviral Therapy in Decreasing Complications Associated with the Influenza Virus, as well as the Evolving Management of Patients with HIV. The APhA conference will take place through March 25, so be sure to watch for Pharmacy Times’ coverage online and on social media.

The Epilepsy Foundation, in partnership with the CDC, has released a series of new seizure first aid public service announcements, Contemporary Clinic reported. The basketball-themed PSAs are airing on the CBS network's Chicago and Philadelphia affiliates and on the CW Atlanta affiliate leading up to and during the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament. The foundation’s new #ShareMySeizure education initiative features the PSAs to assist in general public awareness about seizure recognition and first aid. One in 10 people will have a seizure over the course of their lifetimes, and 1 in 26 will be diagnosed with epilepsy, according to a statement. Therefore, awareness could be the key in getting a person the help that they need in an emergency situation.

Antiviral drugs, including therapies for hepatitis C virus and HIV, remained the most consistently costly drug group by Medicaid spending over a 4-year study period, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, Specialty Pharmacy Times reported. The analysis examined Medicaid outpatient prescription drug utilization in terms of prescriptions and spending before rebates over the 2014 to 2017 period. Medicaid outpatient spending before rebates increased from $45.9 billion in 2014 to $63.6 billion in 2017, growing a total of 39%, according to the analysis. Overall, spending on outpatient services increased by 21% in 2015 and an additional 11% in 2016 but grew more slowly in 2017. However, the study authors noted that they anticipate this spending to grow faster than other Medicaid services over the next 10 years. Additionally, utilization grew from 621.7 million prescriptions in 2014 to 752.9 million in 2017, increasing a total of 21% over the study period.

Pharmacists may get more questions about Ilumya, if patients have seen a recent commercial for the prescription medication. In the spot, called “Every Day, Begins With Flakes,” the narrator says that plaque psoriasis tends to follow people wherever they go. It leaves evidence on blankets, desks, and pillows. According to the commercial, Ilumya helps control plaque psoriasis so that patient can enjoy their lives.

For more great coverage and practical information for today’s pharmacist, visit our website and sign up for our Daily eNews. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Thanks for watching our Pharmacy Week in Review. I’m Nicole Grassano at the Pharmacy Times News Network.

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