BestRx Helps to Build Awareness for Opioid REMS Programs for Pharmacies
Posted on Jun 20, 2023
The Impact of the Opioid Crisis
Identifying ways to prevent opioid misuse and abuse continues to be a top priority across the US health system. Since their introduction in the late 90’s, it has become clear that, if not managed appropriately, opioids are highly addictive and can become extremely dangerous to the overall health and wellbeing of long-term users. As a result, in 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officially declared the Opioid Crisis a public health emergency. In fact, the HHS estimates that:
- More than 10 million people misused prescription opioids in the past year.
- Since 1999, more than 760,000 people have died from a drug overdose.
- Nearly 75% of 2020 deaths caused by a drug overdose involved an opioid.
Without action, these numbers will only continue to climb. That’s why HHS and other government agencies continue to invest in and support science- and community-based efforts to combat the opioid crisis and are urging everyone involved in patient care to get involved.
Connecting Pharmacies to Educational Programs
To ensure independent pharmacies are aware of the training and resources available to them, BestRx has begun sending proactive outreach to their customers. This includes highlighting a free Opioid Analgesic Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy program offered by Illinois ADVANCE, an academic detailing group within the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) College of Pharmacy. Through an educational grant funded by the FDA, Illinois ADVANCE provides education for all health care providers involved in pain management-related care (including pharmacists) with 9 distinct opioid-related topics.
Illinois ADVANCE offers a series of virtual training sessions, specifically for pharmacy professionals, that utilize academic detailing (peer-to-peer outreach). Each interactive session is 15-20 minutes, so it’s easy for pharmacists to obtain unbiased, up-to-date information, without significantly impacting their daily workflow. After completing each course, participants will earn 0.5 hours of continuing education credits and have the tools needed to make better, evidenced-based prescribing decisions for their patients. As with the other REMS courses, they are provided at no cost to the pharmacy or learner.
“Our academic detailing program utilizes the most current pharmacotherapy information to help healthcare providers, including pharmacists, make evidence-based clinical decisions that can improve overall patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs,” says Mary Moody, BSPharm, Illinois ADVANCE. “We are excited to continue educating pharmacists nationwide on important opioid safety and mitigation strategies to build stronger communities and positively impact pharmacies and patients.”
How BestRx is Doing Its Part
When BestRx president, Hemal Desai, learned about the REMS Program offered by Illinois ADVANCE, he immediately recognized the importance and impact the training could have for the independent pharmacies BestRx supports nationwide. As a result, BestRx began to work on a plan to build awareness about the continuing education program and encourage pharmacies to take advantage of the free training and resources available. BestRx will continue to share information about the program and feature many of the available topics throughout the year to ensure pharmacists are armed with everything they need to do their part in the fight against opioid misuse and abuse.
“BestRx is continuously looking for ways we can help independent pharmacies advance the level of care they provide.,” says Hemal Desai, President of BestRx. “Knowing what a tremendous impact the Opioid Crisis has had on communities across the country, we are doing our part to help connect our customers to continuing education programs, like Illinois ADVANCE’s REMS course, that help to enhance patient safety. We strongly encourage BestRx pharmacists to take advantage of these free courses and the vital information and resources that are provided.”
Learn More About the Opioid REMS Program
UIC/Illinois ADVANCE is committed to developing collaborative relationships with healthcare providers and providing current evidence-based drug information to improve prescribing practices and enhance patient safety. Utilizing academic detailing, an interactive, one-on-one provider outreach program, participants can obtain accurate, unbiased, up-to-date drug information to assist clinicians in making evidence-based prescribing decisions for their patients. To learn more about UIC/Illinois Advance’s Opioid Analgesic REMS program and all the available course, visit: https://academicdetail.pharmacy.uic.edu/programs/pharmacists/