Pharmacy Industry News: A 3-point plan to battle prescription drug abuse | Pharmacy Industry News

Pharmacy Industry News: A 3-point plan to battle prescription drug abuse

A 3-point plan to battle prescription drug abuse

Chuck Schumer has proposed a three-pronged attack on the rising abuse of prescription drugs: doctor training, law enforcement and information exchange.

“I remember back in the ’80s and ’90s when crack began to rear its head and we didn’t do enough about it early, and it became an epidemic and our society paid a price for it,” said Schumer, D-N.Y. “The worry is that it could happen again.”

Schumer, who discussed his plan on Monday at Marra’s Pharmacy in Cohoes, has proposed legislation that would:

Require medical professionals to receive training for prescribing addictive painkillers. Doctors would learn guidelines for safe pain management and early warning signs of addiction.

Increase prison sentences for those who rob pharmacies or commit other crimes related to prescription drugs. The penalty for prescription drug crimes would double from 10 years to 20 years in prison.

Make $25 million available for states to create or upgrade prescription drug monitoring systems, and explore creating a federal system in which information could be shared across state lines.

Schumer also has called on credit card companies to deny transactions that involve illegal online pharmacies — much like credit card companies have done with organizations involved in child pornography and online gambling.

“This is the fastest-growing drug problem in the country,” he said.

The legislation, the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 2011, attempts to improve state systems for tracking prescriptions and identifying drug-seeking patients who visit numerous doctors and attempt to get multiple prescriptions. The initiative meshes with a bill recently proposed by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that would improve the state’s monitoring system. Schneiderman wants to make the state system “real time” and require doctors and pharmacists to check the database before writing or filling prescriptions for controlled substances.

The tougher prison penalties are aimed at organized crime rings that deal prescription drugs and would bring penalties in line with illegal activity involving cocaine, heroin and other illegal drugs.

“If you are drug runner and you are running crack or cocaine, or you are running Vicodin or OxyContin, you should get similar penalties,” Schumer said.

CVS Pharmacy Technician Caught Forging Prescriptions, Dealing Drugs

Her day job was working at a pharmacy, but police say a 26-year-old Bloomington woman’s moonlighting gig as an online drug dealer is what got her into trouble.

Police say Jenna Erickson was surrounded by drugs while working at the CVS Pharmacy counter, and probably would have been caught sooner if she had been stealing outright — but investigators said she figured out a way to go almost completely undetected by bringing her work home with her.

“This person would find a patient date in computers at CVS, steal that patient data — along with the doctor’s name — and take that name home and create her own prescriptions at home,” said Sgt. Matthew St. George, of the Minneapolis Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit.

St. George, the only cop in Minnesota who deals with prescription drug fraud full time, said investigators found evidence on Erickson’s computer that she had fabricated more than a dozen prescriptions for Oxycodone, a powerful, potentially addictive, and much-sought opiate painkiller.

Detectives accused Erickson of selling prescriptions to others she’d met on the internet in exchange for cash or drugs to feed her own habit.

Erickson worked as a floating pharmacy technician, stationed at the CVS in Minneapolis at Franklin and Nicollet as well as at another CVS location in Eden Prairie. In that role, she assisted the pharmacist — but there is no licensing requirement in Minnesota and very few state regulations for technicians other than they must be certified.

On Wednesday, CVS apologized to its customers, saying in a statement:

“As soon as we learned of Ms. Erickson’s alleged theft of confidential patient information, her employment was terminated.”

CVS also said no social security numbers, credit card numbers or bank information was exposed or lost.

Among teenagers, only marijuana is more commonly abused than prescription drugs, which are now the leading cause of fatal overdoses. Now, it seems the new drug dealer isn’t the one hanging out on a street corner. In some cases, she’s right behind the counter at your local pharmacy.

It is unknown whether Erickson underwent a background check to work at the pharmacy, and FOX 9 News did not find a criminal record under her name; however, police said she has been involved in a couple of theft cases.

Erickson has been charged with one count of felony identity theft and six counts felony of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance. If convicted on all charges, she could face up to 50 years in prison.

Proposed Value-Based Pricing System Triggers Fear in British Pharmacy Industry

It seems that Britain’s health watchdog, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will retain its esteemed role of contributing to the state-run National Health Service (NHS).

In such an attempt, NICE’s Chief Executive claimed that NICE might play a key role in a value-based pricing system for new medicines due to take effect from 2014. Though the details of the project are yet to be finalized, the manufacturers are expected to get largely benefitted from the new scheme for developing new medicines.

For the last 12 year, the NICE has been examining the pharmacy industry for the benefit of Britain’s state health system.

NICE boss Andrew Dillon, on Thursday, claimed, “The government wants a system that is as predictable as possible … so that it will be very easy for companies to work out whether or not the NHS is likely to find their price acceptable”. It’s being claimed that no hassle will exist in case the drug falls below the threshold price, though a temporary halt can be predicted in case the price moves beyond the permissible limit.

Contrary to the popular belief that Britain is the most industry-friendly location, the new scheme, based on value-based pricing, has raised concerns in the pharmaceutical industry.

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