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Last Updated
August 18, 2016
NEWSROOM > Latest News > Current
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May 23, 2016
Retail Clinics Drive New Healthcare Use
Once the stepchild of the American health care system, primary care is now the linchpin of efforts to improve the 
health and health care of individuals and communities and to bring down costs. Factors contributing to the demand 
for primary care include the coverage expansion under the Affordable Care Act and an aging and growing 
population.   But here is the problem:  there is a shortage of primary care providers, already acute in some areas of 
the country, and it’s expected to significantly grow in the years ahead.  Coupled with consumer expectations that 
everything should be immediately accessible at the touch of a screen, it comes as no surprise that demand for 
accessible primary care, including through retail clinics, is increasing. What impact are these clinics having on cost, 
access, and quality?   

The researchers found that 58 percent of retail clinic visits represented new utilization and not substitution for more 
costly primary care or emergency department (ED) visits. This net cost of this new utilization was determined to be 
$14 per person per year.  While the study found that retail clinics increased costs by creating new utilization, it did 
not consider the value of the new utilization for patients who previously, for whatever reason, did not or could not 
access such services.
May 17, 2016
Do Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Systems Affect Adherence to Glaucoma Medication Regimens?
Electronic medical record (EMR) systems, defined by the Department of Health and Human Services as "an 
electronic record of health-related information on an individual that can be created, gathered, managed, and 
consulted by authorized clinicians and staff within one health care organization," have the potential to provide 
substantial benefits to physicians, clinic practices, and health care organizations and improve the quality of patient 
care and safety.  Nevertheless, despite these myriad benefits, the possibility of medical error or misinformation 
persists.
 
Most recently, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have explored the ways in which EMR 
discrepancies may affect glaucoma medication adherence. According to the research team, patients with glaucoma 
typically have ever-changing drug therapy regimens involving multiple eye drop products; in addition to these 
complex regimens, inconsistent documentation in glaucoma patients' electronic medical records (EMRs) can also 
play a role in their medication adherence."  The research, entitled Electronic Medical Records and Glaucoma 
Medications: Connecting the Medication Reconciliation with Adherence, is published in the Volume 10, 2016 edition 
of Clinical Ophthalmology.
 
The authors conclude that "with the growing prevalence and incidence of glaucoma nationwide and the increasing 
presence of EMRs, inconsistent documentation in the EMR may be a contributing factor in patient [glaucoma] 
medication adherence. However, when inconsistencies are present, patients are more likely to follow their 
physician's verbal directions than the EMR handout. Even so, clinicians should be diligent in providing consistent 
medication documentation throughout the EMR to reduce non-adherence due to clinician error (Source:  Maureen 
Duffy, VisonAware™ - posted originally 4/25/16)
May 12, 2016
FDA Considers New User Fee Program for OTCs
FDA, which relies heavily on user-fee programs to review prescription drugs in an expeditious fashion, may adopt a 
similar framework to tap industry financial support for the OTC drug evaluation process. Currently, hundreds of 
thousands of OTC medications—including analgesics, cough and cold treatments, and antiseptics—are marketed 
through "monographs" without being sanctioned by FDA. Lack of funding and staffing, meanwhile, have slowed 
finalization of these monographs, giving consumers access to OTC drugs that have yet to be cleared as safe and 
effective by the agency. "FDA needs additional resources to work toward finalization of the monograph review 
process and to address safety issues in a more efficient and timely manner," according to the regulator, which has 
scheduled a public meeting for June 10, 2016, to hear feedback. In particular, it hopes to obtain stakeholder insight 
on the kinds of user fees that might work best, the types of performance objectives that might be important, and 
the best way to evaluate the success of a such a program.  See:  Federal Register Notice.
May 11, 2016
Aripiprazole (Abilify, Abilify Maintena, Aristada): FDA Warns About New Impulse-control Problems
FDA is warning that compulsive or uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop, and have sex have been 
reported with the use of the antipsychotic drug aripiprazole (Abilify, Abilify Maintena, Aristada, and generics). These 
uncontrollable urges were reported to have stopped when the medicine was discontinued or the dose was reduced. 
These impulse-control problems are rare, but they may result in harm to the patient and others if not recognized.   
Although pathological gambling is listed as a reported side effect in the current aripiprazole drug labels, this 
description does not entirely reflect the nature of the impulse-control risk FDA identified. 

In addition, FDA has become aware of other compulsive behaviors associated with aripiprazole, such as compulsive 
eating, shopping, and sexual actions. These compulsive behaviors can affect anyone who is taking the medicine. As 
a result, FDA is adding new warnings about all of these compulsive behaviors to the drug labels and the patient 
Medication Guides for all aripiprazole products.
May 9, 2016
National Prevention Week: May 15-21
SAMHSA’s fifth annual National Prevention Week, “Strong As One. Stronger Together,” May 15-21, 2016, is 
dedicated to increasing public awareness and prevention of mental and/or substance use disorders. During National 
Prevention Week, community organizations across the country host health fairs, educational assemblies, town hall 
meetings, memorial walks, social media campaigns, outdoor events, and more. This year’s theme - Strong as One, 
Stronger Together -recognizes that one person can make a positive difference in their community, but when we all 
unite together we can achieve even more.  SAMHSA is pleased to announce that Torrey DeVitto, who stars as an ER 
pediatrician in the NBC drama “Chicago Med,” serves as this year’s National Prevention Week Ambassador.