Sunday, May 20, 2018
Health

Pharmacists, like doctors, rarely consult drug database

Even if doctors don't consult the drug monitoring database, many people believe that shouldn't matter because pharmacists must still check it before handing over the drugs.

But that, in fact, is not true.

The law includes just one requirement: Anyone who dispenses controlled substances, primarily pharmacies, must enter the prescription's details into the state database within seven days. That information includes the type of drug, how much of it was issued and who prescribed it.

But the law doesn't require pharmacists to check and see if they're about to hand a bottle of potent painkillers to somebody who has been collecting prescriptions in quantities that clearly suggest abuse. In fact, pharmacists are slightly less likely to check the database before filling a prescription than physicians are to check it before writing one.

Since the system launched on Sept. 1, 2011, more than 48 million prescriptions have been filled for controlled substances in Florida. State records show that pharmacists checked the database before filling just 1.9 percent of those — compared with about 2 percent for physicians.

Officials from Walgreens, Publix and Walmart all said their Florida pharmacists are registered with the database and are encouraged to use it.

Winn-Dixie didn't respond to several messages and Target officials declined to comment. A CVS spokesman said that although their pharmacists input prescription information into the database as required by law, the company has not given them access to the database.

CVS's operations make up 13 percent of the Tampa Bay area pharmacies that are licensed to dispense controlled substances.

Several local pharmacists said they use the system and wish others would more often.

Many also argued that prescription information should be uploaded to the database immediately. The delay of up to a week could allow patients to visit dozens of doctors and pharmacies before their activity ever appears in the system.

Sally West of the Florida Retail Federation said most pharmacists already know which patients are seeking the medications for the wrong reasons. It's unfair, she added, that the onus to stop drug abusers is so often placed on pharmacies.

"We've put pharmacists in the role of policemen as to whether or not they should give out these prescription drugs," she said. "That's kind of a precarious position."

Still, Dan Fucarino, owner of Carrollwood Pharmacy, said both doctors and pharmacists have a responsibility to check the database.

"It takes a minute at the most to look this up," he said. "How hard could it be?"

Comments
U.S. approves first drug developed to prevent chronic migraines

U.S. approves first drug developed to prevent chronic migraines

TRENTON, N.J. — U.S. regulators Thursday approved the first drug designed to prevent chronic migraines. The Food and Drug Administration’s action clears the monthly shot Aimovig (AIM’-oh-vig) for sale. It’s the first in a new class of long-acting dru...
Published: 05/18/18
Know your blood pressure numbers? Today (May 17) is World Hypertension Day

Know your blood pressure numbers? Today (May 17) is World Hypertension Day

Today (May 17) is World Hypertension Day, and the American Medical Association is encouraging people to monitor their blood pressure levels and get high blood pressure, or hypertension, under control. High blood pressure, sometimes referred to as the...
Published: 05/17/18
Study: Depression in men may lower chances for pregnancy

Study: Depression in men may lower chances for pregnancy

Women having trouble getting pregnant sometimes try yoga, meditation or mindfulness, and some research suggests that psychological stress may affect infertility. But what about men: Does their mental state affect a couple’s ability to conceive?The la...
Published: 05/17/18
Tampa General Hospital named among top 100 in U.S., second best in Florida

Tampa General Hospital named among top 100 in U.S., second best in Florida

TAMPA—Tampa General Hospital was named one of the top 100 hospitals in America for the fifth consecutive year, and second best in Florida, according to one health industry website.Tampa General is considered the best hospital in the Tampa area, accor...
Published: 05/16/18
Joe Redner asks Florida Supreme Court: Let me grow marijuana now

Joe Redner asks Florida Supreme Court: Let me grow marijuana now

Even though a circuit judge has ruled that Tampa strip club owner Joe Redner can grow and juice his own marijuana, he was barred from doing so until the appeals process is finished.So Redner’s lawyers filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court o...
Published: 05/15/18
Heated chemo is the key as Tampa General doctor tackles ovarian cancer

Heated chemo is the key as Tampa General doctor tackles ovarian cancer

Over the span of three weeks, Brenda Gotlen watched as her abdomen got bigger. Her lower stomach felt bloated."It got to the point that I looked nine months pregnant," said Gotlen, a 62-year-old Seffner resident. She made an appointment to see her pr...
Published: 05/15/18
Some health premiums will go up next year. Which party should we blame this time?

Some health premiums will go up next year. Which party should we blame this time?

As some insurers angle for hefty premium hikes and concerns grow that more Americans will wind up uninsured, the federal health law is likely — once again — to play big in both parties’ strategies for the contentious 2018 election.Candidates are alre...
Published: 05/15/18
Blood donations from the ‘Man with the Golden Arm’ saved millions of babies

Blood donations from the ‘Man with the Golden Arm’ saved millions of babies

When he was 14, James Harrison needed surgery. And as he would come to find out, he would also need a significant amount ofstrangers’ blood to survive it.After he had recovered and as soon as he became an adult, Harrison felt compelled to pay it forw...
Published: 05/14/18
UN health agency aims to wipe out trans fats worldwide

UN health agency aims to wipe out trans fats worldwide

NEW YORK — The World Health Organization has released a plan to help countries wipe out trans fats from the global food supply in the next five years. The United Nations agency has in the past pushed to exterminate infectious diseases, but now it’s a...
Published: 05/14/18
Troubling link found between pollution exposure in pregnancy, high blood pressure in children

Troubling link found between pollution exposure in pregnancy, high blood pressure in children

High blood pressure typically occurs in adulthood, so when children develop the condition, it often means something is very wrong. A child might have kidney disease, hyperthyroidism or a heart problem. Obesity can also be a factor.But what about seem...
Published: 05/14/18