News in Brief: Week of April 22-26

April 24, 2013 05:05 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief]

National Drug Take-Back Day Scheduled

The DEA has scheduled another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day( to collect and destroy expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

The 2013 event is scheduled run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (local time) on April 27 at collection sites around the country. According to the DEA, the five previous events have collected more than 2 million pounds (1,018 tons) of prescription medications and removed them from circulation.

The DEA is offering a number of free resources(, such as a downloadable poster that is available in various sizes and in English and Spanish. Other resources -- many of them bilingual -- family physicians may wish to use in their practices or on their practice websites to raise awareness include

  • a two-page pamphlet,
  • print and digital billboards that can be posted online or displayed in an office setting, and
  • Web buttons in various sizes and configurations.

Collection site locations can be found at the DEA website(

FDA Issues Several Recalls, Alerts Due to Sterility Concerns

The FDA has released alerts and recalls for several products due to a lack of sterility assurance and concerns about quality control processes, including a nationwide recall by Green Valley Drugs( of all lots of sterile products compounded, repackaged and distributed by the pharmacy. A full list of the recalled products can be found at the company's website(

The FDA also issued an alert that ApothéCure Inc. is voluntarily recalling( all lots of its sterile products compounded by the pharmacy that are not expired to the user level.

NuVision Pharmacy is voluntarily recalling( all unexpired lots of lyophilized compounds HcG 5000IU-5ml and Sermorelin/GHRH6-5ml to the user level.

In addition, Balanced Solutions Compounding Pharmacy, LLC announced( a voluntary nationwide recall of all lots of sterile products compounded by the pharmacy that are not expired. Patients are at increased risk for infections in the event a sterile product is compromised.

The FDA also issued an alert that Nora Apothecary & Alternative Therapies( has announced a voluntary multistate recall of all sterile drug products compounded by the pharmacy that have not reached the expiration date listed on the product. The recall includes approximately 95 dosage units of sterile compounded products that the pharmacy supplied to offices of twelve licensed medical professionals in Indiana. Some patients who received products from those medical professionals may live in states other than Indiana. The recall also includes about 400 prescriptions compounded for patients in Indiana and four other states.

Physicians and patients are encouraged to report adverse events associated with any of these products to the FDA's MedWatch program(

Learn More About 'Blue Button' Technology

The federal government wants patients and their physicians to know about Blue Button(, an initiative that enables patients to easily and securely access their personal health information maintained by physicians, hospitals and health plans.

According to HHS(, the Blue Button technology initially was available to active military service members, military veterans and Medicare beneficiaries; nearly 1 million people in those groups have downloaded their own health information via the technology.

In addition, other federal agencies and some private health plans are beginning to introduce Blue Button to consumers. Data has shown that when patients are engaged in their health care, they stay healthier, and when patients do get sick, they recover from illness more quickly.

A list of frequently asked questions( -- tailored to specific groups -- also is available online.

Adherence Rates, Medication Requests Focus of Study

In 2011, a significant percentage of adult Americans failed to take their medications as prescribed, or they asked their physician for a lower-cost medication to save money, according to a recent report( issued by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

The study, based on data from the 2011 National Health Interview Survey, found that roughly 18.4 percent of U.S. adults did not take medications as prescribed, and another 40.1 percent asked their physician for lower-cost medications. Another 4 percent bought prescription drugs from another country, and 8.3 percent used alternative therapies in 2011.

Income played a role in adherence rates, according to the study. Adults who were poor or near-poor were twice as likely as adults who were not poor to not take medications as prescribed.

The study broke the data down by two distinct age groups: those 18-64 and those 65 and older. It also found that

  • adults ages 18-64 were twice as likely to not have taken medications as prescribed compared with adults 65 and older;
  • uninsured adults between 18 and 64 were more likely than adult Medicaid recipients and adults with private insurance to not take their medications as prescribed to save money; and
  • Americans 65 and older who rely on Medicare as their sole source of insurance coverage were more likely to ask their physician for a lower-cost medication compared to people with private coverage or those with both Medicare and Medicaid coverage.

Data Challenge Contest Offers Three $100,000 Prizes

Three organizations with ties to the health care industry have joined forces to launch a national contest aimed at speeding the transformation of health care delivery and payment reform in the United States.

The Bipartisan Policy Center, Heritage Provider Network and The Advisory Board Company are sponsoring the Care Transformation Prize Series(, which offers at least three quarterly prizes of $100,000 each to participating teams.

In an April 16 press release(, one sponsor called on the entire health care community, and in particular those health care professionals providing direct patient care, to "submit the most difficult data challenges facing their organizations as they implement new models of care."

Winning algorithms will be shared publicly.