US Pharm. 2008;33(11):8.

Many Consumers Don't Like Therapeutic Substitution
Washington, DC -- A survey conducted by the National Consumers League (NCL) uncovered that nearly three-quarters of prescription users would be very concerned if a drug prescribed for them were switched to another drug in the same therapeutic category--20% of the consumers surveyed said that even if their physician suggested a change they would not approve of it. "Without transparency, therapeutic substitution could introduce efficacy or safety issues, including unknown drug interactions and potentially serious health consequences. It may evoke confusion or fear on the part of patients already feeling frustrated by a failing health care system," said NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg.

Debut of Two New Pharmacy Schools
New York, NY, and Baltimore, MD -- Two new colleges of pharmacy are set to welcome approximately 140 students into their first graduating classes. Touro College has accepted 66 Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) students, making it the first pharmacy school to open in New York City in 68 years. The new pharmacy school is located in Harlem, a first for that neighborhood as well. "The rationale for establishing a new pharmacy school in Harlem is the compelling need for a diverse health care workforce that serves underserved populations," said Dr. Stuart Feldman, founding dean of the pharmacy college. The opening of another new pharmacy school will take place in the fall of 2009 in Baltimore. The College of Notre Dame of Maryland plans on accepting 70 students and will be the first school of pharmacy established on the campus of a women's college in the U.S. While the school will be open to both women and men, it will provide a distinctive focus on leadership development and women's health care. Its founding dean is Anne Y. F. Lin, PharmD, who most recently served as dean and professor of Midwestern University's College of Pharmacy Glendale in Arizona.

"Donut Hole" Causes Some Seniors to Stop Cholesterol Medication
Franklin Lakes, NJ -- New research conducted by Medco Health Solutions, Inc., found that seniors battling high cholesterol are two times more likely to stop taking their medication once they reach the Medicare coverage gap, commonly referred to as the "donut hole," than during the period when their statin medication is covered. The Medicare coverage gap kicks in once a senior's total prescription costs reach $2,400. Once they reach this amount, Medicare recipients are responsible for paying 100% of their prescription costs until they hit the $5,451 cost threshold, when the program will cover 95% of a beneficiary's drug costs.

FDA Will Study Possible Ban on Children's OTC Cold Medications
Rockville, MD -- The FDA said it would gather more data on the safety and efficacy of cold medicines being sold for children over-the-counter (OTC) before it makes a decision on whether to ban the sale of those products. The decision of whether or not to ban OTC cold medications for children comes on the heels of an FDA advisory earlier this year suggesting that children under the age of 2 should not be treated with OTC cold medications. It is estimated that approximately 10% of children in the United States are taking lower dosages of one or more of the many OTC adult cough and cold medications currently available.

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