US Pharm. 2008;33(6):8.

Alexandria, VA -- A survey conducted by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) uncovered that the number of health system pharmacists playing a significant role in consulting with physicians on a wide range of drug protocols increased by 2% over the past six years. The survey revealed that nearly all the hospitals polled (98%) reported an 80% or greater acceptance rate for pharmacist recommendations on items such as dosage adjustments, drug information, pharmacokinetics, and antibiotics. Seventy-six percent of the hospitals reported that at least 95% or more of medication orders are reviewed by a pharmacist before the first dose is administered, up from 46% just three years earlier.

Rockville, MD -- The FDA announced that it has embarked on a major multiyear hiring initiative to help meet "the agency's responsibilities to assure the safety and/or efficacy of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, food, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation." Among the approximately 1,300 positions it is looking to fill are "critical need" spots for microbiologists, biologists, chemists, medical officers, nurse consultants, mathematical statisticians, investigators, epidemiologists, pharmacologists, pharmacists, and veterinary medical officers. Many of these positions are located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, specifically Rockville, Silver Spring and College Park, MD, as well as across the country in the FDA's five regions, 20 districts, more than 179 resident posts, and the newly created FDA offices overseas.

Palm Beach, FL -- Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), cautioned his membership not to ignore the importance of "continuing a proactive course" in emphasizing pharmacy's valuable and essential role in the health care system. He made his remarks to more than 2,000 attendees at the association's annual meeting. Given the current national debate on health care, Anderson told the group that "the stakes are high" and that "this may be our opportunity." Anderson calculated that approximately $2.2 trillion is at stake and chain drug stores need to continue to establish pharmacy "in its rightful spot within the health care system."

Mountain View, CA -- Google, the mega Internet search engine company, announced the availability of a free Web site developed to manage patients' medical records online. In its attempt to develop new business, Google is looking to partner with a variety of health care institutions including hospitals, pharmacies, clinics, medical labs, and testing companies to allow patients to store their medical records and search for information on a variety of medical conditions. The search engine giant is currently partnering with the Cleveland Clinic, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Longs Drug Stores, and Walgreens. The new site, Google Health, is free to users and is devoid of any advertising. It is the company's intention to get people to register on the site and expose them to other Google offerings.

Alexandria, VA -- A joint report from the NACDS and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) that analyzes the economic impact of the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) of 2005 finds that 11,105 pharmacies across the country could close due to reductions in the Medicaid reimbursement rate, which is well below their cost to fill prescriptions. These pharmacies generate more than 300,000 jobs and $31.1 billion throughout the nation's economy. While the numbers of pharmacies that will close vary from state to state, the analysis predicts that New York could take the biggest hit with 40% of stores closings followed by the District of Columbia (37%), Louisiana (32%), West Virginia (30%), and Alaska (28%).