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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Aspiring pharmacists deluge colleges

DETROIT, MI, United States (UPI) -- Swarms of aspiring pharmacists, lured by high pay and a nationwide shortage, have created a new problem in the United States: Where to put them all.
People responded to the nationwide shortage five years ago that left nearly 7,000 unfilled pharmacist jobs and boosted salaries beyond $80,000 a year by applying in droves to colleges.
Michigan`s three pharmacy schools -- Wayne State, Ferris State and the University of Michigan -- have increased class sizes and added courses but still are turning prospects away, the Detroit News reported.
Wayne State said it is working with Kroger grocery stores to train some of its students.
"If every school graduated every applicant, we`d have more pharmacists than we need," said Franz Neubrecht, director of pharmacy resources for the Michigan Pharmacists Association.
Even so, Sami Shimoon, owner of Collie Drug Inc. in St. Clair Shores, Mich., wants schools to churn out as many druggists as possible since he has had an open job for nearly a year.

Broadlane Announces Agreement with MedKeeper for New Pharmacy Formulary Management Solution

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 17, 2005--Broadlane, the leading provider of innovative business services for the healthcare industry, today announced it has licensed FormChecker(TM) from MedKeeper, a leading provider of software solutions for pharmacy. FormChecker is a software solution that allows healthcare professionals to manage critical drug-related information via an intuitive Web-based interface, helping them save time and provide updated formulary information at the point of care.
For most pharmacy professionals, managing a hospital formulary -- a listing of medications deemed safe and effective by medical staff committees -- can be a time-intensive and often manual process that may impact the efficiency with which pharmacists can dispense vital medications. Without a well-communicated formulary, doctors may prescribe drugs that are considered non-formulary, meaning that they are not on the hospital's approved list of medications. This requires pharmacists to provide suitable alternatives to the prescriber and may involve literature searches, accessing Web sites and hunting down medical charts to determine a viable equivalent product on formulary. This process wastes valuable time and increases the potential for a medical or medication error when delivering patient care. A well-communicated formulary may result in improved safety and patient care.
Using a Web browser, pharmacies using FormChecker can effortlessly update formularies, guidelines, alerts and other pharmacy-related information. Changes are instantly made available to physicians, nurses and pharmacists over the Internet, in print and on PDAs.
Some benefits of using FormChecker(TM) include:
-- Immediate access to relevant safety and formulary information, plus elimination of outdated formulary handbooks
-- Simple and inexpensive compliance with JCAHO safety and formulary standards through flexible searching and print mechanisms
-- Customized alerts about drug shortages, recalls or other important medication news
-- Decreased number of phone calls related to drug-prescribing procedures
-- Ability to immediately share drug-related information via seamless integration across institutions
-- Reduced or eliminated formulary printing costs because pharmacy information is available via the Internet and handheld devices
-- Easier management of unique formulary and information needs for individual patient care through facility and outpatient/health plan modules
A successful trial of FormChecker has been underway for more than six months at William Beaumont Hospitals in Troy, Mich. Mai Nguyen, drug information specialist for William Beaumont, reported that efficiency gains are the greatest benefits of FormChecker.
"With FormChecker, updates are simple so I can easily update (medications as) formulary or nonformulary," Nguyen said. "As soon as you input data, it's there. FormChecker also saves time when it comes to looking for our medication policies as well as policies for nursing and other departments. All of the information is consolidated and easy to locate, which helps increase productivity."
Fred Halvachs, vice president, strategic sourcing services at Broadlane, remarked, "In addition to the value delivered by our deeply experienced on-staff pharmacists, we are confident that our current and future customers will find FormChecker's ease of use beneficial to their organizations as they navigate the intricacies of managing pharmacy information. Broadlane is committed to pursuing all varieties of new technology that ultimately increase patient safety. Giving our customers access to FormChecker is a great addition to our initiatives surrounding patient safety."
Jason Kilgour, president of MedKeeper, stated: "We are very excited to align with Broadlane on this initiative. In addition to the benefits of this agreement, Broadlane customers will have the opportunity to purchase an upgrade and enjoy unlimited Internet, intranet, Palm and PocketPC access to their facilities' formulary and pharmacy information."
About MedKeeper
MedKeeper (Denver, Colo.) is a leading provider of software solutions for pharmacy. The company's products are used by hundreds of healthcare facilities throughout the United States, including 20 of the top 100 U.S. hospitals. MedKeeper's products include FormChecker, a leading formulary management and communications system, and RxRounds(TM), a low-cost, easy-to-use clinical documentation system. To learn more about MedKeeper, please visit or call 888-626-2659.
About Broadlane
Broadlane delivers transformational business services to healthcare providers, enabling them to reduce costs and improve operational performance. Through the application of innovative technology and sustainable solutions that range from consulting to full-service management, Broadlane is helping to set new standards for efficient healthcare delivery. These solutions include strategic sourcing, clinical and operational consulting, equipment lifecycle management, procurement management, and labor services.
Broadlane counts among its customers more than 875 acute care hospitals, more than 2,800 sub-acute care facilities and almost 12,000 physician practices. Broadlane is headquartered in San Francisco and has additional offices in California, New York, Ohio and Texas. For more information, visit

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Epilepsy Drug-Suicide Link Studied

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has asked 14 drug makers to check their data to see if epilepsy drugs trigger suicidal behavior or thought.
The companies have six months to respond to the FDA request, the USA Today reported Thursday.
The request is similar to one the FDA made in 2003 regarding antidepressants and suicidal behavior in children. That review resulted in a black box warning, the FDA's toughest, on the drugs' labels last year.
The current case is only the second review of that type, says Robert Temple of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
U.S. sales of anti-seizure drugs were the fifth-largest drug category last year, says research firm IMS Health, because they are also used for ailments other than epilepsy, like pain and migraines. Epilepsy affects an estimated 2.7 million Americans.

Source: United Press International