Independent Pharmacy News Headlines – Week of Dec. 1, 2023

Woman with flu image - pharmacy news headlines

Flu is on the rise while RSV in children may be peaking

The CDC announced on Friday that flu cases are rising while RSV cases in children and the elderly may be at the peak.

In the meantime, COVID-19 continues to cause the most hospitalizations and kills about 1,000 every week.

According to IBM’s Predictive Flu 14-day Trigger, these will be the top risk-of-flu predictions for the next week:

Top Markets for Projected Flu Activity (Next 2 Weeks):

  • Columbus (OH)
  • Zanesville (OH)
  • Marquette (WI)
  • Providence-New Bedford (RI)
  • New York (NY)
  • Salt Lake City (UT)
  • Colorado Springs-Pueblo (CO)
  • Helena-Great Falls-Missoula (MT)
  • Seattle-Tacoma (WA)

WSJ reports Cigna and Humana in talks to merge

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Cigna and Humana are discussing a stock-and-cash deal to merge. The merger may be completed as soon as the end of the year.

The rumored deal comes after reports in November that Cigna was exploring the possibility of selling it’s Medicare Advantage business. A Cigna spokesperson at the time said the company does not comment on “rumors or speculation.” 

The Cigna-Humana deal, however, will likely face anti-trust challenges over their PBM businesses. The combination of Express Scripts and Humana’s PBM would control about 35% of the market.

Neither company has yet to conform WSJ’s report.

Thousands of California pharmacies stop flavoring kids’ meds while awaiting new CBP rules

More than 3,000 California pharmacies earlier this month suspended their practice of flavoring medication because they’re awaiting new rules from the California Board of Pharmacy. CBP is charged with applying federal guidance that characterized the service as drug compounding, meaning the mixing of prescription medication.

The suspension of flavoring services by pharmacies follows new guidance from the United States Pharmacopeia, even though in 2010, the California Board of Pharmacy explicitly stated in its lawbook that drug compounding does not include “the addition of flavoring agent(s) to enhance palatability.”

California’s Board of Pharmacy is now preparing rules that will adopt the federal guidance. While these rules will not ban flavoring, pharmacists must comply with more stringent regulations when providing the service.

Categorized as Updates