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Practice Transformation

Children under age 2 who take antibiotics appear to be at increased risk for childhood-onset asthma, respiratory allergies, eczema, celiac disease, obesity and ADHD, according to research published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. As with so much, it comes down to the microbiome. “Overall, our findings extend the associations between early antibiotic exposure and later development of asthma, allergic diseases, and autoimmune conditions described previously. We hypothesize that antibiotics play a causal role in the pathogenesis of childhood immune disorders through disruption of the microbiome during critical developmental periods,” the researchers write. (Science DailyMayo Clinic Proceedings)
CMM provides many opportunities for pharmacists to demonstrate their value, according to speakers at the ACCP 2020 annual meeting. When implementing CMM in a hospital or practice, start with a small population of patients, and identify a process and refer patients to the service. And put in place a method to track your outcomes, counseled McKenzie Robillard, PharmD, BCACP, of Community Care Physicians in Latham, N.Y. Robillard did just that, and shared her data. Roughly 71% of CMM sessions between February and December 2019 found at least one medication-related problem. Pharmacists made 1,477 recommendations to providers, with an 89% acceptance rate. They also found 692 cost-saving opportunities from less expensive medications, saving an estimated $127,655.  (Specialty Pharmacy Continuum)

Evidence & Innovation

Last Tuesday, Amazon opened an online pharmacy that lets customers order medication or prescription refills—and have them delivered. The repercussions on the sector were immediate: The stocks of CVS Health Corp., Walgreens and Rite Aid all fell. Amazon’s prescription business could be appealing to the uninsured or those who must meet a high deductible before coverage starts, says John Boylan, an analyst who covers Walgreens for Edward Jones. Health economist Craig Garthwaite from Northwestern made a prediction: “We could think of this one day as the first step toward Amazon becoming a PBM.” (AP)
Pfizer hopes to release its COVID-19 vaccine by the end of November. It will require two injections, given weeks apart. Researchers also anticipate the shots will cause flu-like side effects that could last for days. Providers have little time to explain to patients what’s involved. Saad Omer, PhD, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, warns that the risks of side effects haven’t yet been properly communicated to the public .”You need to be ready. You can’t look for your communication materials the day after the vaccine is authorized.” (NBC News)
America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) recently released an updated breakdown of how Americans’ health care premiums are allocated among the various health care services. Among the highlights: Medication and medical services accounted for 81.6 cents of the health care premium dollar, and 21.5 cents goes to prescription drugs. (AHIP infographic)

Policy Solutions

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is expected to release a final rule soon on drug rebates, Healthcare Finance News reports. The final rule, expected to be based on a proposal CMS released in February 2019, would end the current drug rebate program, in which pharmacy benefit managers pass on manufacturer rebates to health plans, which then use the funds to discount premium prices for all members. (Healthcare Finance News)
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In Case You Missed It!

Over the past two weeks, 475 GTMRx signing members registered to attend our four-part Member Feedback series. These events showcased the tools developed from 140+ GTMRx experts on the following topics: how we pay, practice, use diagnostics and integrate technology. These tools are soon-to-be released guidance documents your organization can use to advocate for reform. Learn more about the events and watch the recordings here.
AmazonSmile is an easy way for 0.5% of your qualified purchases go to the GTMRx Foundation at no cost to you. And signing up is simple—go to and select “Get the Medications Right Foundation” as your charity of choice. If you prefer to directly donate instead, you can do so here.
Adding the foundation on AmazonSmile will help us continue to provide no cost educational webinars, issue briefs, weekly news briefs and promote the need for transformation of our current system of medication use through social media campaigns.
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