Although Alzheimer’s Awareness Month has come to a close, there is still plenty of time to put together a team to join the Walk to End Alzheimer’s scheduled to take place near you. For Astrup Companies—the family-owned Minnesota company that started Smart-Fill; a couple of dozen retail, long-term care, and specialty pharmacies; and a smattering of other pharmacy-related businesses—supporting Alzheimer’s research is an important, and very personal, part of our mission. Our founder, Leonard Astrup, lost his battle with the disease five years ago, which is why we keep tabs on the latest research developments in the industry and companies that are emerging to make a difference in the fight to end the disease. It’s also what makes stories of thwarted research (login required) so disheartening. Many of our patients, and no doubt yours, have personal stories about how the disease has impacted their lives and the lives of those they love. To that end, we’re happy to share with our community some patient and caregiver resources as well as this downloadable sheet on the warning signs of disease, all of which you can feel free to share with your patients. For more information on how you can help, find your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter here.
A pilot program announced this week seeks ways to use block chain technology to improve the prescription drug supply chain. “A permissioned block chain will provide an increased level of authority for patients and consumers, guaranteeing the drugs and vaccines they are receiving are not counterfeit, stolen, contaminated or harmful,” according to Craig Kennedy, senior vice president of supply chain at Merck, who is participating in the program with Walmart and technology partners IBM and KPMG. The new program is geared toward reducing the time associate with track-and-trace—a priority for the FDA based on its February program launch—and improving access and reliability. The potential for using the technology is vast, considering studies that have demonstrated that so much product is stolen, counterfeit, or damaged in transit. And while the so-called “porous” supply chain poses significant hazards to patients, it also adds significant cost to a system that has operated for decades in a black box.