Plus, the latest pharmacy and healthcare news to know this week.
May 31 marked World No Tobacco Day, an annual program focused on the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocates for effective policies that reduce tobacco consumption. This year, the campaign aimed to increase awareness about the negative effects of tobacco on lung health. In the U.S., tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death, claiming the lives of 480,000 people annually.
Why It Matters
In the U.S., cigarette smoking is down, but activities like vaping, which studies have shown could lead to cigarette use among teens, is on the rise. Around the country, states are increasingly authorizing pharmacists to prescribe medications that help people quit smoking, which puts them in an important position to influence tobacco use. According to a 2014 study, pharmacists have been successful at this in the past. The study found that tobacco cessation services provided by pharmacists are as effective as those provided by other healthcare practitioners, and they were more accessible to patients without health insurance.
There is also good news for Medicare Advantage (MA) beneficiaries who need help quitting. Thanks to recent CMS changes, MA plans can now provide an increased number of supplemental benefits, thanks to recent CMS changes.
An AARP analysis noted 47% of plans offering a nicotine replacement therapy benefit this year. As plans are finalized for 2020 in the next few weeks, it can only be expected that more plans will include this benefit moving forward.
More healthcare news to watch:
1. Drug spending in the U.S. is expected to reach $370 billion this year, pushing the growth of overall healthcare spending to $3.6 trillion.
2. A Social Security processing error means as many as 250,000 Medicare beneficiaries may receive bills for five months of premiums.
3. Thanks to a new law in North Carolina, pharmacists will be able to administer flu shots to children 10 and up without a prescription starting October 1.
4. On Monday, California, Hawaii, Maine, and the District of Columbia filed lawsuits against Purdue Pharma, joining 44 other states accusing the company of helping to fuel the opioid crisis.
5. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) has launched a new continuing education program to prepare pharmacists to provide patient care in the emergency department.