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Some states establish Rx affordability boards

At least seven states have set up prescription-drug affordability boards to lower costs for a potentially broader set of prescription medicines, and more states could follow as some officials have expressed interest in establishing similar programs. Some of the boards have much more leeway than Medicare in selecting drugs for cost reviews. In several states, including Colorado and Maryland, the boards have the authority to set upper payment limits for drugs. Yet unlike the Medicare negotiation process, they don’t face an onslaught of litigation, policy experts say. (MarketWatch)


Practice Transformation

User-unfriendly EHRs make medication errors

New research, published in JAMA Network Open,  found that EHR systems that are difficult to use  were less likely to flag drug-drug interactions, drug allergies, duplicate orders, excessive dosing or other harmful medication errors. “Hospitals and health systems have spent more than $100 billion on EHRs over the last decade, and most believe that these systems are completely safe and usable but that is not necessarily the case,” lead author Dr. David Classen of University of Utah Health, said in a statement. (Healthcare IT News; JAMA Network Open)

Evidence & Innovation

Costco finds partner, enters health care space

Online healthcare startup Sesame is partnering with Costco to offer members virtual primary care for $29 in all 50 states. Other services include virtual checkups involving a standard lab panel and virtual follow-up with a doctor for $72, and virtual mental health visits. Costco executives point out that the big-box retailer has a different strategy, partnering with an existing organization. Other retailers expanded by offering preventive and urgent care services in-store and opening pharmacies. (Fierce Healthcare)


Nearly 19% of online dispensaries require no age verification

Many online cannabis dispensaries require don’t do age verification,  and they have other lax policies that enable minors to buy cannabis online, according to a new study published on in JAMA Pediatrics. The study found that 18.8 percent of dispensaries “required no formal age verification at any stage of the purchasing process.” The authors warn that “pediatricians and caregivers must be aware of the widespread availability of online dispensaries and potential dissemination of marijuana to minors.” (New York Times; JAMA Pediatrics)

Policy Solutions

ACCP publishes clinical pharmacist standards

The American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) recently published “Standards of practice for clinical pharmacists,” in the Journal of the American College of Clinical pharmacists.  It defines clinical pharmacists as “those who provide comprehensive clinical pharmacy services to achieve medication optimization for patients in all healthcare settings.” The statement outlines the clinical pharmacist’s process of care and identifies eight standards that address the clinical pharmacist’s involvement in collaborative team-based, patient-centered care. (ACCP statement)


Fixing the economics of generic drugs

The US generic drug market is grappling with significant challenges, particularly around its pricing model and supply chain vulnerabilities. Although the Hatch-Waxman Act facilitated the proliferation of generic drugs, the relentless pursuit of lower prices has created supply instability and led to numerous drug shortages, according to the authors of a Health Affairs Forefront piece. How do we address these challenges? The simple answer is to reverse the economics driving shortages.” They propose several strategies, including establishing a federal procurement organization and reassessing the method for determining the Average Sales Price (ASP) for generic drugs. (Health Affairs Forefront)

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