Pharmacy Week in Review: Digital Health Trend Expected to Grow, Breast Cancer Gene Testing Underused Among Women


A look at last week's top stories in the world of pharmacy.

A look at last week's top stories in the world of pharmacy.


Nicole Grassano, Host:

Hello and welcome to the Pharmacy Times

News Network. I’m Nicole Grassano your host for our Pharmacy Week in Review.

Technological advancements over the past few decades have influenced human behavior and the way people make decisions about their health, Pharmacy Times


Mobile health apps, wearable fitness sensors, and an other digital health options have already shown promise in improving human health. According to a report from IQVIA, a company that sponsored cyber stations at the NACDS Total Store Expo in Denver, Colorado this week, digital health options hold the potential to significantly increase quality of care in the future. This report examined innovation, evidence and adoption of digital health tools to determine their impact on patient outcomes.

According to the report, the use of digital health options is growing rapidly, with more than 318,000 health related apps available on most smart phones, and almost 200 more being added each day. While many of the apps are focused on general wellness, such as nutrition or exercise, health condition management apps make up 40% of all health focused apps and continue to grow.

There are also more than 340 wearable health sensors on the market.

Daily aspirin did not reduce the occurrence of major cardiovascular events in a study of more than 12,500 participants considered to be at risk, according to the results of the Aspirin to Reduce Risk of Initial Vascular Events trial, known as the ARRIVE trial, presented at the European Society of Cardiology Meeting in Munich, Germany, Contemporary Clinic


The benefits of taking aspirin to prevent a second or subsequent cardiovascular event have been well established in previous studies but the effectiveness of taking aspirin to prevent a first cardiovascular event has been unclear. The ARRIVE study sought to assess the potential benefits, as well as the risks, to people at moderate risk of cardiovascular disease who may already be receiving some protection from modern preventative and therapeutic strategies.

Participants received either daily aspirin tablets (100 mg) or a placebo. During the study, 269 patients in the aspirin group and 281 patients in the placebo group experienced cardiovascular events, such as cardiovascular death, heart attack, unstable angina, stroke, and transient ischemic attack. Overall, these rates were lower than expected.

Tests for BRCA1 and BRCA2

gene mutations, which help identify women at an increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, are underused among US women who are eligible to receive them, according to a recent study, Specialty Pharmacy Times


The underuse of testing for BRCA mutations means that many women are unaware of their heightened cancer risk, and the possible need for high-risk screenings, such as annual mammograms and breast MRIs.

For the study, researchers analyzed records of women recruited to participate in the Southern Community Cohort Study in 2002 to 2009. Half of the cohort was covered by Medicare. Of the 49,642 participants, 2002 were diagnosed with breast cancer between 2000 and 2014 and 751 women were covered by Medicare Part B.

According to study results published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA),

of the women who were eligible 2000 and 2004, none received testing for BRCA1

and BRCA2,

according to the researchers. Although the numbers improved over time, testing rates remained lower than expected, according to the study. In 2010 to 2014, 15.8% of eligible women received testing.

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

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