News you can use: health & drug safety updates


  • July 1, 2002
    Over two-thirds of the 28 million adults who are disabled have been prescribed one or more medications. While over 85% of this group indicated that they always use their medications as prescribed, four million disabled adults said they did not. Researchers J. Kennedy and C. Erb found that disabled adults without insurance were nearly four times more likely than those with private insurance to report medication noncompliance due to cost. Writing in the American Journal of Public Health (July 2002), they note that most of the
  • June 18, 2002
    A long-awaited national study of the distribution and “usefulness” of pharmacy-distributed patient medicine leaflets, whose results were released today by the FDA, found that 89% of patients received leaflets with their prescriptions. This exceeds the 75% target for the year 2000 that was set by a 1996 law. The study also had two panels of reviewers assess the quality of the leaflets, an “expert” panel and a consumer panel. While consumers were critical of leaflets' legibility, they were more positive about their comprehensiveness and usefulness, the researchers found.
  • June 12, 2002
    A study in the June 2002 Annals of Emergency Medicine found that of elderly patients presenting to an urban teaching hospital emergency room, the average number of prescription medications they were taking was six. However, only 42% of these patients were able to correctly identify all of their medicines.
  • June 4, 2002
    Use of so-called “COX-2 inhibitor” medicines, approved to treat arthritis, acute pain and other disorders, has led one pharmacy benefits manager to recommend that physicians start patients who are not at risk for gastro- intestinal events on a generic “NSAID” such as naproxen or ibuprofen. According to an internal study conducted by Express Scripts, 74% of new COX-2 users had no evidence of being at risk for gastrointestinal adverse events, “calling into question the overall cost-effectiveness of their use in “real world” practice.” The data were released today at their 2002
  • May 16, 2002
  • May 16, 2002

    At a New York City press conference today, NCPIE launched Phase II of its “Be MedWise” campaign, to coincide with the implementation date (May 16) of the new “Drug Facts” label required on most non-prescription medicines. NCPIE’s Ray Bullman (far right in photo below) was joined by the FDA’s Drs. Jonca Bull and Linda Katz; Ellen Shapiro (FDA), and NCPIE pharmacist advisor Linda Bernstein, Pharm.D., in lauding the revamped, simplified Drug Facts label.

  • May 8, 2002

    NCPIE, in conjunction with the Peter Lamy Center for Drug Therapy and Aging, Univ. of Maryland, will host a one-day conference on October 17, 2002: “High Tech-High Touch: Making the Connections to Improve Medicine Use for Older Adults.” Confirmed speakers include Bill Novelli, AARP’s Chief Executive Officer, and Carolyn Clancy M.D., Acting Director, AHRQ. The program will be held at the Bethesda (MD) Hyatt Regency.

  • April 26, 2002
    AARP, a founding and current member of NCPIE’s Board of Directors, launched a campaign to improve appropriate, cost-effective use of medicines. Their “Check Up on Your Prescriptions” campaign includes a "Wise Use” section on their website. Visitors are directed to NCPIE’s own website; to our “Prescription Medicines and You” brochure (published with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality); and to the NCPIE/FDA brochure about safe on-line purchasing of medicines.
  • April 12, 2002
    Rofecoxib (trade name: Vioxx), approved for treatment of osteoarthritis and pain, has won a supplemental indication for rheumatoid arthritis, the FDA announced. Further, the label will be modified to warn patients and health care professionals about certain gastrointestinal risks, and against chronic use of the medicine at a specific dosage. The geriatric section of the label will also be modified, the FDA notes.
  • April 9, 2002
    The FDA today issued a revised “Medication Guide” for Accutane with more safeguards to prevent prescriptions for women who are or may become pregnant. The FDA originally issued an Accutane “Med Guide” in January 2001.