pharmacies

More people are becoming eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio, with teachers and people over the age of 70 getting the shots this week. But some groups who are at risk – such as police officers, funeral directors, and low-wage essential workers – are still not prioritized in the state’s plans.

The COVID-19 vaccines have to be rationed because there is such a limited supply, but some people have questioned how the priority groups were decided and whether the distribution has been ethical thus far.

The Biden administration has announced that it will begin shipping about 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses a week directly to thousands of pharmacies in an attempt to address equity concerns and speed up the country's crucial inoculation effort.

The vaccines sent to pharmacies will be in addition to the millions of doses sent weekly to states, territories and tribes and that are sometimes administered at local pharmacies.

A federal judge this week denied a request by pharmacy chains to throw out a lawsuit over the opioid crisis brought by Lake and Trumbull counties.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster’s Thursday ruling allows the two counties to move ahead with preparations for a May 2021 trial in federal court, to be held in Cleveland.

Ali Schroer was just out of college when she started her first teaching job, but her new insurance plan didn’t cover her allergy medication. 

"So this new allergist that I was seeing in Colorado had said, after several go arounds of me asking to take this medication, said, ‘Oh, well actually know that you can just get it online.”'

Naloxone is an antidote that can help reverse drug overdoses.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

Dispensing rates for the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone increased by 2,328% after a 2015 Ohio law went into effect that allowed pharmacists to give the drug without a prescription.

Pharmacist Clint Hopkins displays the HIV prevention drug Descovy, at Pucci's Pharmacy in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.
Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press

The state has been trying to crack down on predatory practices associated with pharmacy benefit managers, the middlemen in big drug contracts.

In this May 30, 2019, file photo, a CVS store with the new HealthHUB is shown in Spring, Texas.
David J. Phillips / AP

A series of pharmacy chains argued in federal court that doctors and other health care practitioners who write prescriptions bear ultimate responsibility for improper distribution of opioids to patients, rather than the pharmacists who are obliged to fill those prescriptions.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster has added a new opioid trial to the calendar, this one litigating Cuyahoga and Summit counties’ claims against pharmacy chains.

Polster, who is overseeing the thousands of opioid-related lawsuits, set a trial date of Oct. 13, 2020 in an order issued Tuesday.

The two counties are amending their lawsuits to accuse pharmacies of failing to look out for suspicious prescriptions for opioid painkillers, with the judge’s approval.

The nationwide opioid lawsuits are far from over.

After last month’s settlement with drug makers and distributors, lawyers for Cuyahoga and Summit counties are focusing on the next set of defendants: pharmacies.

At the start of this month, attorneys for the two counties asked the court permission to add new claims against pharmacies to their lawsuits. The claims accuse pharmacy chains of failing to look out for suspicious opioid prescriptions.

pills
Pixabay

The University of Cincinnati researcher who co-authored the first North American study of medication errors is calling on Ohio and other states to require the reporting of mistakes in community pharmacies. Hospitals already have to document such errors.