Pharmacy Week in Review: Pharmacy Technician Role Expands in Iowa, Immunotherapy Shrinks Melanoma Metastases


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.


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

Two videos shown on in the past week highlight the expanding role of pharmacy technicians in Iowa and how that allows pharmacists to have more time with patients.

The videos from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores-Total Store Expo

in Denver, Colorado, feature Anthony Pudlo, who is the vice president of professional affairs at the Iowa Pharmacy Association. In the videos,

Pudlo says that technicians in Iowa are playing a much bigger role in pharmacies. They are getting extra training and certification, which allows them to conduct product verifications and play a role in medication reconciliation and advanced sterile compounding.

The videos sparked a lively discussion on the Pharmacy Times

Facebook page, with one pharmacist saying that “the chains are eyeing the expanding role of technicians as a way to lower their costs and employ fewer pharmacists.”The editors of Pharmacy Times invite viewers to get involved in the conversation by visiting the Pharmacy Times Facebook page.

Although the incidence of Chlamydia trachomatis

infections remains high among young women ages 14 to 24, new data presented at the CDC 2018 STD Conference show that the prevalence of the sexually transmitted infection is decreasing, according to an article on Contemporary Clinic's


For the study, a team of investigators led by Kristen Kreisel of the CDC examined estimated

Chlamydia trachomatis

prevalence data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Specifically, the team analyzed laboratory data collected from women between 14 and 39 years for 4, 2-year time periods between 2001 and 2016.

The results of the study showed that though the prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis infections among females aged 14 to 39 remained relatively stable between 2001 and 2016, there was a decrease in prevalence from 2001-2004 where the prevalence was 2.3% and 2013-2016, when the prevalence was 1.7%.

A combination immunotherapy effectively shrank melanoma brain metastases in patients with stage 4 disease, according to a phase 2 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine and reported on by Specialty Pharmacy Times.

Led by an investigator from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the study evaluated the efficacy and safety of the checkpoint inhibitor ipilimumab plus nivolumab in patients with stage 4 melanoma who had untreated brain metastases. The clinical trial was sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb.

With a median overall survival rate of 4 to 5 months, patients with brain metastases are in critical need of improved therapies. Currently, about 40% of patients with stage 4 melanoma have brain metastases at diagnosis and 75% eventually develop the condition.

Ninety-four patients were treated in the study with combined ipilimumab and nivolumab at a minimum follow-up of 9 months and a median of 14 months. Of the treated patients, 26% had a complete response to the therapy, 30% had a partial response, and 2% had stable disease, according to the data. The rate of intracranial clinical benefit was 57%. At the 9-month follow-up, 59.5% of patients with brain tumors had not progressed.

Pharmacists may get more questions about Tylenol PM if their patients have seen a new commercial for the OTC pain medication.

In the spot, called “Not Yourself: Garage,” a woman’s sleep deprivation and overall fatigue causes her to try to use the garage door remote instead of the TV remote. After taking Tylenol PM and getting some rest, she wakes up the next morning and surprises her children by asking them to help her make cupcakes.

According to the commercial, Tylenol PM can provide quick pain relief and help those who take it get a better night’s rest.

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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