US hospitals and surgical centers are dealing with a nationwide shortage of injectable opioid pain medications linked to manufacturing problems and government efforts to reduce opioid manufacturing due to addiction and abuse of oral opioids. Facilities are conserving the drugs, using alternative medications, and ensuring correct patient dosages so mistakes do not put supplies at risk.
Northwell Health's use of Royal Philips' Virtual Hospital Service, which includes eICU technology and a telestroke program, led to a 20% reduction in ICU mortality. The program also doubled the number of patients getting blood clot medication and doubled organ donation referrals.
Employers view specialty pharmacies as having lower prices, more access to copayment programs and better clinical programs than retail pharmacies, according to an analysis of data from the Pharmacy Benefit Management Institute by the Drug Channels Institute. Nevertheless, employers believe greater patient-pharmacist interaction is possible at retail pharmacies, probably because many specialty pharmacies dispense medication through the mail, says DCI CEO Adam Fein.
A study in the Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy found considerable variations in the way patient directions, or Sigs, are noted in e-prescriptions, which can disrupt the work of pharmacists and prescribers and possibly affect patient safety. Training and experience can address this problem, said pharmacist Marvin Moore, who added, "It seems that we see fewer mistakes/confusion with the medical staff that's been using the software for a longer time."
Michigan said this week it will settle a class-action suit regarding a policy that restricts hepatitis C treatments for those in the Medicaid program. New lifesaving antivirals are only offered to patients with hepatitis C who have severe liver damage, according to the lawsuit.
Alexion Pharmaceuticals' follow-up experimental drug for paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, ALXN1210, was able to achieve two primary goals of a pivotal study but failed to demonstrate a measure of superiority to its predecessor Soliris, or eculizumab. Alexion plans to file regulatory submissions for ALXN1210 as a PNH treatment in the US, Europe and Japan in the second half of this year.
Veterinarian Scott Hosket cares for companion animals in his office and large animals at farms, and he may be called upon at any hour of the day or night, especially during late winter, when livestock are giving birth. The long hours are one reason many newly minted veterinarians don't pursue large-animal care.
A panel of veterinarians, veterinary microbiologists and epidemiologists, and internists has updated guidelines for veterinarians and horse owners to prevent and treat cases of strangles, caused by infection with Streptococcus equi. The new consensus recommends guttural pouch sampling to determine when a horse is disease-free and DNA testing to diagnose strangles, and the document includes examination, quarantine and treatment guidance.
Sustainable development is the theme for the World Veterinary Association's World Veterinary Day on April 28. Veterinary professionals have a role in sustainable development to improve livelihoods, food security and public safety, and the AVMA has hosted an international food security summit and is developing recommendations for future action and involvement in global food security.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center is recruiting healthy adults for a clinical trial of a vaccine for H7N9 avian influenza. The virus has not been detected in the US, but it has infected humans in China, where 39% of reported cases have been fatal.