Top Pharmacy News of 2013

Our review of the year's most popular and important stories in pharmacy-from the push for pharmacist provider status to the ongoing fight against prescription drug abuse.

Our review of the year’s most popular and important stories in pharmacy—from the push for pharmacist provider status to the ongoing fight against prescription drug abuse.

From a push to attain pharmacist provider status to ongoing efforts to combat prescription drug abuse, 2013 was yet another year filled with pharmacy news. Other major topics ncluded the launch of health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act, further findings that pharmacists can help improve patients’ health while saving the health care system money, and new guidelines for determining whether patients should be prescribed statins.

Here are the news stories that have been most popular among Pharmacy Times over the past year, organized loosely by category:

Pharmacist provider status:

At the beginning of 2013, a coalition of pharmacy associations announced that they were banding together to push for a change in the Social Security Act designating pharmacists as patient-care providers eligible for reimbursement under Medicare. The movement hasn’t succeeded yet, but it shows no signs of diminishing.

  • The Push for Pharmacist Provider Status
  • Unprecedented Coalition Supporting Pharmacist Provider Status
  • Pharmacists Make Progress Toward Attaining Provider Status

Pharmacist effectiveness:

Studies, surveys, and algorithms continued to find that pharmacists are widely respected, have among the best jobs in the country, and help improve patient outcomes while saving money.

  • U.S. News & World Report Again Ranks Pharmacist Among Top Jobs
  • The Role of Hospital Pharmacists in Transitions of Care
  • Physician-Pharmacist Team Improves Hospital Care
  • Pharmacists Rank Among Most Trusted Professionals
  • Increased Medication Adherence Reduces Health Care Costs

Prescription Drug Abuse:

Rates of overdose and death due to abuse of prescription drugs—in particular opioids—continued to rise, and the FDA continued to grapple with how to help prevent this abuse.

  • FDA Backs New Restrictions on Hydrocodone Painkillers
  • CVS Caremark Targets Inappropriate Prescribers to Cut Prescription Drug Abuse
  • FDA Refuses to Remove Generic Opana From Market
  • FDA Bars Generic Version of OxyContin
  • Illicit Use of Prescription Drugs Widespread Among College Students
  • Opioid Overdose and Death Rates Skyrocket in Women

Launch of insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act:

The federal insurance exchange website may not have been ready for primetime, but pharmacies across the country had spent months preparing to help patients make the most of the opportunities offered under health care reform.

  • Health Insurance Marketplaces Open for Business
  • Pharmacies Plan to Promote Benefits of Affordable Care Act
  • Bill Clinton Praises Health Care Reform, Pharmacists

Cardiovascular health:

New guidelines for determining who should take statins proved quite controversial, and there was a steady stream of newsworthy studies on treatment of heart conditions as well as the effects of medications on cardiovascular health.

  • The New Lipid Guidelines: An In-Depth Look
  • Statins Linked to Increased Diabetes Risk
  • Blood Pressure Guidelines: Is Change Coming?
  • Calcium Supplements Can Spell Heart Trouble for Women
  • Bedtime Aspirin May Be More Beneficial for Heart Patients
  • Niacin Fails to Reduce Cardiovascular Events

Antibiotics:

In a year in which the CDC found that antibiotic-resistant infections kill tens of thousands of Americans each year, antibiotics were frequently in the news.

  • CDC: Antibiotic-Resistant Infections Kill 23,000 Each Year
  • Antibiotics Recommended for All Toddlers with Ear Infections
  • FDA Issues Warning on Antibiotic and Fatal Heart Rhythms

Vaccines:

Pharmacists play an important and growing role in providing vaccinations, which are key to warding off potentially deadly infectious diseases.

  • Pneumococcal Vaccine Recommendations Updated
  • Yet Another Study Finds No Vaccine-Autism Link
  • FDA Approves New, More Quickly Produced Flu Vaccine
  • Vaccines Have Prevented Millions of Disease Cases

Odds and ends:

A number of our most popular stories defied categorization.

  • 10 Essential Pharmacy Apps
  • “Fiscal Cliff” Deal Has Consequences for Pharmacies
  • Keeping an Eye on Medical Marijuana for Glaucoma
  • New Diabetes Guidelines Take Comprehensive Approach
  • Hillary Clinton Addresses NACDS Total Store Expo
  • FDA Expands Access to Plan B
  • Report: Baby Cured of HIV