• FDA to permit some community pharmacies to dispense abortion drugs

    Published On: January 4, 2023Categories: Professional Practice

    FDA said Tuesday that community pharmacies can dispense the drugs used for medication abortion. Previously, the drugs were only available at clinics, directly from physicians, or from mail-order pharmacies. The agency announced its intention to update prescribing protocols for mifepristone, the first drug used in the regimen for medication abortions, a year ago. Tuesday's action, described in an update to part of the FDA website, strengthened a change implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic that increased telehealth access to medication abortions. Additionally, FDA said it would permit certain pharmacies to dispense the drugs directly. The new rules still require patients to have a prescription from a certified health care provider; however, any pharmacy that agrees to accept the prescriptions and follow [...]

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  • Pharmacies are cutting hours and closing stores. What it means for customers.

    Published On: December 15, 2022Categories: Professional Practice

    Randy Florschuetz thought his annual flu shot would be a quick errand. He booked an appointment online for Nov. 21 and showed up at his local Walgreens at the designated time – only to be met with a sign noting it was closed. On Nov. 25, he booked another appointment for the following Monday and headed to the store to pick up a prescription. Again, a sign told him the store was closed for the day. He was greeted with a third sign when we showed up to his rescheduled appointment, this one telling him the store was closed due to a family emergency. “It's kind of funny. During the height of COVID, they actually stayed open when I would expect them to have problems,” [...]

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  • COVID-19 deaths down 90% since February: WHO

    Published On: November 11, 2022Categories: Professional Practice

    COVID-19 deaths have fallen significantly over the last nine months, but the world must remain vigilant as new subvariants spread, the World Health Organization's top official said Nov. 9. Last week, about 9,400 deaths were reported globally, down nearly 90 percent from February, when the weekly death toll topped 75,000, according to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD. "We have come a long way, and this is definitely cause for optimism, but we continue to call on all governments, communities and individuals to remain vigilant," he said. "Almost 10,000 deaths a week is 10,000 too many, for a disease that can be prevented and treated." Dr. Tedros' call for vigilance comes as omicron subvariants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 — dubbed 'escape variants' for [...]

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  • So far, this flu season is more severe than it has been in 13 years

    Published On: October 28, 2022Categories: Professional Practice

    New CDC surveillance data show there have been more than 880,000 influenza infections nationwide so far this season, including 6,900 hospitalizations and 360 deaths, making for an unusually early and brutal cycle. The burden of influenza has not reached the current level in more than a decade. "The data are ominous," remarks William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University. "Not only is flu early, it also looks very severe." The troubling trend is even more concerning, he adds, considering that influenza vaccinations are trailing where they usually are at this point. According to CDC, an estimated 128 million doses have been administered so far, off from 139 million a year earlier. "That makes me doubly worried," says [...]

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  • Biden administration extends COVID-19 public health emergency declaration

    Published On: October 14, 2022Categories: Professional Practice

    The Biden administration on Thursday extended the nation’s COVID-19 public health emergency for the next 90 days as officials brace for a potential surge of infections over the winter. The declaration comes as daily deaths and case rates have been falling, though the U.S. continues to see more than 300 people dying due to COVID-19 each day. White House health officials have been urging people to get the updated variant-specific COVID-19 vaccine, and have said the extent of any surge depends on the precautions people take and the vaccination rates. “If you are up to date with your vaccines and if you get treated, if you have a breakthrough infection, your risk of dying from COVID is now close to zero,” White [...]

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