US Pharm. 2008;33(4):8.

New York, NY -- An investigation by The Associated Press found an assortment of pharmaceutical drugs in the drinking water in 24 of the 62 metropolitan water systems included in its research. That translates to 41 million Americans who could be affected by the drug pollution. Some of the drugs found in the water systems include antibiotics, mood stabilizers, and sex hormones. The Record , a newspaper that serves Northern New Jersey, reported that 850,000 people in North Jersey alone might be affected. And test samples from the water that flows from Lake Meade--which is located about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas and supplies the drinking water for Nevada, Arizona, and California--found trace levels of birth control, steroids, narcotics, and other drugs. While the particles are small, some scientists fear that over time the trace amount of drugs in the water could have a negative effect on humans and aquatic species.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada -- The Edmonton Journal reports that some pharmacists in the Canadian province of Alberta have been authorized to write prescriptions for their patients. While narcotics, anabolic steroids, and barbiturates are excluded from the new regulation, pharmacists are allowed to write various prescriptions including those to treat the side effects from drugs prescribed for HIV-positive patients. One pharmacist whose specialty area is helping menopausal women is now able to adjust estrogen doses or add antidepressants to drug therapies without direct authorization from the physician.

Alexandria, VA -- The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) is recognizing four student-led community engaged service projects that provide care to the underserved with the inaugural AACP Student Awards for Community Engaged Service. The annual program, sponsored by Teva Pharmaceuticals, is designed to recognize a community-engaged service program developed and delivered by doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students enrolled at AACP member colleges and schools of pharmacy. It is intended to encourage pharmacy students and faculty to design and build programs of community-engaged service learning, delivering consumer education about medication use, expanding access to affordable medications, and improving the public's health.

Hoffman Estates, IL -- Kmart Pharmacy is launching a program that offers its pharmacy customers a choice of 10 over-the-counter medications from Kmart's proprietary American Fare brand for only $1 each with every prescription. The new program will complement its 90-Day Generics Program, which offers customers a three-month supply of many common generic maintenance medications for $15.

Washington, DC -- U.S. Representatives Steven C. LaTourette (R-OH) and Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) are introducing sweeping federal legislation that will mandate training, education, registration, and certification requirements for pharmacy technicians nationwide. The Pharmacy Technician Training and Registration Act of 2008, or Emily's Act, is named after two-year-old Emily Jerry of Concord Township, Ohio, who died last month after a pharmacy technician incorrectly prepared her chemotherapy drug treatment. The proposed legislation will set a floor for states to meet, but not weaken, any existing state laws. States are currently in charge of overseeing pharmacists and technicians, but regulations regarding training, certification, and continuing education vary from state to state.

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