Pharmacy Week in Review: Policy Changes Can Improve Rural Health, Combo Therapy Investigated for AML


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.

Health care professionals in rural areas are turning to policy changes and eyeing innovation to tackle health care challenges in these communities, Pharmacy Times reported. Fifteen percent of all Americans live in rural areas of the United States, according to Brock Slabach, senior vice-president for the National Rural Health Association. Those communities face chronic poverty and workforce shortages in health care, Slabach said at a session on Sunday at the 2018 American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting in Anaheim, California. In addition, rural areas have less access to medical resources than those in more urban areas. One program discussed was the Pennsylvania Global Budget Innovation Model, which is considered a game-changer for alternative payment methods.

The FDA has approved Dextenza, a dexamethasone ophthalmic insert, for intracanalicular use to treat ocular pain following ophthalmic surgery, Contemporary Clinic reported. Dextenza is inserted in the lower lacrimal punctum and into the canaliculus. The device could replace current standard-of-care regimens that include up to 70 topical steroid-containing eye drops. The FDA’s approval decision was supported by data from 2 randomized, vehicle-controlled phase 3 studies, which showed that a statistically significantly higher percentage of patients were pain-free 8 days after cataract surgery with Dextenza than with the vehicle control.

An investigational triple combination therapy including chemotherapy and 2 immune checkpoint inhibitors showed positive results for the treatment of relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukemia, Specialty Pharmacy Times reported. The therapy was evaluated in 20 patients compared with 70 patients who received the chemotherapy, plus 1 immune checkpoint inhibitor in the phase 2 study at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Overall, patients treated with the triple combination showed a complete response rate of 43% and a projected 1-year overall survival of 58%, whereas the other treatment group reported a complete response rate of 22% with a projected 1-year overall survival rate of 40%. In both groups, the best responses were within 3 months of therapy initiation.

Pharmacists may get more questions about Theraflu Power Pods Daytime Severe Cold if their patients have seen a new commercial for the OTC medication for allergies, cold, and flu. Theraflu introduces its Power Pods, a cold and flu relief beverage pod you can brew at home in your own machine. According to the commercial, Theraflu Power Pods Daytime Severe Cold medication helps reduce fever and relieve pain, as well as treating other symptoms.

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

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