The Weekly Roundup: Pharmacists & Pain Management (3.29.19)

March 29, 2019 | Pamela Youngberg

In the midst of an opioid crisis—and where substance abuse is in the headlines nearly every day—treating patients’ pain is a considerable challenge. In the case of cancer patients, for example, opioids remain the go-to, but there are additional approaches available, including drug therapies that change the mind’s perception of pain or those that block the pain signal from traveling to the brain. Researchers are also exploring gene therapies and approaches that juice the feel-good chemicals in the body.

There has been a groundswell of support for pharmacists to get more involved in managing pain treatment plans, buoyed by stories of both positive outcomes and unhappy endings.

Doing so maximizes the expertise of the pharmacist as part of a care team and can reduce visits to the primary care physician or hospital, as well as reducing delays in modifying drug regimens. If you don’t already have an opioid-counseling practice in place, there are a range of resources to help you get started. Check out the CDC’s toolkit for integrating quality measures among providers responsible for opioid therapy. Check out these tools to help you frame a pain management practice.

Here are a few other stories that might be of interest:

  • Adjust or self-destruct. Meijer implements new pharmacy policies and training following pharmacist’s refusal to dispense miscarriage drug.
  • Novel therapies require some creative thinking even after the fact. Gene therapies’ high front-end costs are causing payors to reassess how coverage and benefits should work.
  • Florida House bill would expand the role of pharmacists in treating patients with certain illnesses.
  • On the bandwagon—or in a VW microbus? Big chains Walgreens and CVS have announced they are bringing CBD products to their shelves in several states.

[Editor’s note:] Our inboxes are stuffed with newsletters and our coffee tables stacked with magazines and industry digests. I’m sure yours are, too. So, we’ve decided to run a weekly sampling of interesting stories, issues coverage, and business ideas we come across each week. We hope you’ll share some of your favorites, too. Drop us a line at

Pamela Youngberg

Before she came to Smart-Fill, Pamela developed marketing strategy and content for a range of technology start-ups and large-cap enterprises. Outside the office, she's into cycling, renaissance history, cooking, and exploring the outdoors in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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