Join in the fight with Lehan Drugs and the National Community Pharmacists Association to protect your right to use community pharmacies.

In CategoryPharmacy
ByTim

I believe the choice to use a community pharmacy over a mail-order pharmacy should belong to patients, not the insurance companies.  This view is also shared by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).  I will be joining NCPA and other community pharmacists in Washington D.C on May 10th to discuss this with lawmakers.  Community pharmacies are vital partners in ensuring optimal care for our patients.  Many pharmacies, like ourselves, offer a variety of programs and services in addition to filling prescriptions, such as Medication Therapy Management (MTM), immunizations, health screenings, home medical equipment and services, and more.  Community pharmacists are just that: members of the communities we serve.  We are committed to our patients; we hope to form long-lasting relationships built on trust and the mutual desire to improve health and quality of life.  When patients are forced to fill prescriptions through mail-order pharmacies, these strong ties are severed, and the quality of care is reduced.

The now-common trend with prescription insurance coverage is the ability to fill and pay for a three month supply of medications at one time.  However, many patients are being told they can only receive this benefit through mail-order pharmacies.  Patients still have the ability to fill their medications at their local community pharmacies, but are often penalized with a higher payment.  This is not surprising.  Insurance companies and PBM’s (pharmacy benefit managers) own these mail order pharmacies and use leverage to steal patients away from local pharmacies.  The result: billions in profits for PBM’s (that’s right: billions) without regard to the effect it has on patient care and health outcomes.

Lehan Drugs wants to give you a voice in Washington to help shape the future of pharmacy in America.  I truly believe that community pharmacists are in the strongest position to ensure patients receive the attention that is needed for successful health outcomes.  I will be attending meetings in Washington in May to discuss this issue with our country’s leaders.

If you would like to join the fight to ensure your right to use the pharmacy of your choosing, visit www.Fight4Rx.org.

Tim Lehan, RPh

 

Here’s a little more information on NCPA’s campaign to protect your right to use your local pharmacy:

NCPA Launches Fight4Rx Online Grassroots Community

ALEXANDRIA, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has launched Fight4Rx.org, which is dedicated to recruiting and transforming patients into grassroots activists for community pharmacies by educating them on the vital role pharmacists play and the serious challenges they face in the delivery of health care.

America’s patients and their families greatly value their community pharmacists and the personalized services they provide,” said Bruce T. Roberts, RPh, executive vice president and CEO of NCPA. “Fight4Rx patients will have a new forum during the health care reform debate in Washington, DC. They will be able to research issues and speak directly to their legislators about key concerns affecting their access to prescription medication and services by their local community pharmacies.”

Although the health care bill has passed, debate and changes will continue.  Fight4Rx includes issue briefs on pharmacy patient issues, Medicare and health care news updates, and a video blog on the home page (www.Fight4Rx.org) with regular updates from pharmacy industry experts. Patients will receive a monthly e-mail newsletter that will update them on key pharmacy issues and news about the latest breaking news. When necessary, Fight4Rx will encourage patients to contact their elected officials (via a 1-800 number or e-mail).

I believe the Fight4Rx online community will lead us to fair and common-sense health care policies in the United States by empowering patients to let their voices be heard in establishing the pharmacy home of their choice,” said Holly Henry, RPh, NCPA president and Seattle, Washington pharmacy owner.

The National Community Pharmacists Association, founded in 1898, represents the nation’s community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 pharmacies. The nation’s independent pharmacies, independent pharmacy franchises, and independent chains dispense nearly half of the nation’s retail prescription medicines. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org.

March is DVT Awareness Month!

In CategoryHealth News
ByBriana

DVT, or Deep Vein Thrombosis, affects an estimated 350,000 – 600,000 Americans each year.  DVT is a condition where a blood clot forms within the deep veins of the leg.  These clots can block the flow of blood, which in turn can cause pain, swelling, and discoloration of the legs.  In more serious cases, DVT can cause a pulmonary embolism, in which the clot breaks loose and travels to the lungs where it can cause damage from lack of oxygen to the lungs and other organs.

You may be at risk for DVT if any of the following factors apply:

  • Major surgery
  • Recent trauma (fall, broken bone)
  • Family history of blood clots
  • Sit or stand for long periods of time
  • Overweight or obese
  • Pregnancy
  • Varicose veins
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Confined to a bed

To help prevent DVT, especially if you are at increased risk:

  • Stretch your legs and move them as often as possible
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Wear gradient compression socks or stockings
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes
  • See your doctor with questions or concerns

IN SUPPORT OF DVT AWARENESS MONTH, STOP BY LEHAN DRUGS ON SOUTH 4TH ST TO RECEIVE 10% OFF A SINGLE PAIR OR 20% OFF TWO OR MORE PAIRS OF COMPRESSION SOCKS DURING THE MONTH OF MARCH.  Insurance purchases excluded*

For more information on the benefits of compression stockings and the variety of styles and colors, check out our website at http://www.lehandrugs.com/home_medical/compression_stockings.html

Medications and Nutrient Depletion Part II

In CategoryHealth News, Pharmacy
ByJon

As promised, here are some very commonly prescribed drugs, and a little about how they can affect a patient’s nutritional status and overall health.   

Acid reducing medicines (Omeprazole, Prevacid, Zantac, Nexium, etc.)

 It seems to me that acid-reducing medications are prescribed more and more often, for a variety of conditions.  They are certainly one of the most commonly prescribed medicines we dispense.  I’m sure you don’t go a day or two without being exposed to an advertisement for Prilosec or Prevacid.  These medicines can relieve discomfort, cure ulcers, and protect the stomach from other medications.

These medicines also affect the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.  The digestive system has been calibrated over the centuries to efficiently absorb nutrients from food, processes which may be dependent on the pH, or acidity in the gut.  There are several essential vitamins and minerals that might be affected.  

These include:

  • Calcium

  • Vitamin D

  • Folic Acid

  • B-12

 Of special note is vitamin D.  A mountain of recent research has shown the importance of vitamin D in supporting a variety of healthy processes in the body.  Low levels are associated with increased risks of cancer, mental illness, and poor bone health, among other things. Vitamin D is obtained in the diet, and through exposure to sunlight.

 In northern areas, such as ours, we don’t have the benefit of sun exposure many months out of the year.  If you’d like to learn more about Vitamin D, check out www.vitamindcouncil.com for more information, or contact a Lehan’s pharmacist.

 Antibiotic therapy (Levaquin, Amoxicillin, etc.)

Antibiotics have revolutionized healthcare, saved countless lives, and battled some of the most deadly diseases known to man.

 They are also quite effective in destroying the microbes in our intestines that we rely on for proper digestion, intestinal health, vaginal health, and even proper functioning of our immune systems.

Supplementing with a high-quality probiotic helps maintain the correct intestinal flora and can prevent antibiotic side effects.  Ask one of our pharmacists how to tell the difference between higher and lesser quality products to ensure you are getting optimal benefit.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs (“Statins” i.e. Lipitor, Crestor, Simvastatin, Lovastatin, etc.)

Statins, or HMG Co-A reductase inhibitors, lower cholesterol.  There is evidence they can improve cardiovascular health and reduce major health events.

 They also deplete Coenzyme Q10.  CoQ10 is a substance vital for normal functioning of the mitochondria, or the “engines,” in every cell of our body.  Healthy levels of coenzyme Q10 are critical in supporting the normal functioning of those energy pathways.  One patent application by a major drug manufacturer for their product references this depletion, and even goes so far to recommend replacement for all patients!

There are other benefits from taking taking CoQ10.  A review of clinical trials in 2007 also showed CoQ10 may help lower blood pressure..

 Note: Coenzyme Q10 is not well absorbed when taken orally.  Certain formulations can provide more efficient absorption.  Ask one of our pharmacists for recommendations.

 Beta blockers (atenolol, metoprolol, propranolol, etc.)

 These medicines help control blood pressure, heart rate, and can improve survival in certain chronic heart conditions.

 They also reduce levels of coenzyme Q10, and they deplete melatonin, a hormone vital in the normal functioning of our sleep-wake cycle.

 We’ve provided you a very short list, and many other medications may cause nutritional deficiencies.  Sometimes nutritional supplementation with vitamins or minerals is an effective means to help combat drug-induced deficiencies.  Don’t hesitate to contact a Lehan’s pharmacist for more information, or for other recommendations to help you maintain optimal health and nutrition.