Important pharmacy news and late-breaking industry information updated daily.

A recent comprehensive review published in the January 28 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) highlights cardiovascular (CV) considerations related to marijuana use, pharmacological interactions, and clinical implications for use of cannabis in patients with CV disease. Pharmacists should be aware of which of their patients are currently using cannabis products and the potential for CV adverse effects and drug–drug interactions. 

Two major studies casting doubt on the ability of antimalaria drugs to treat COVID-19 patients were retracted Thursday by the scientific journals in which they had appeared, The New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet, because the authors could not verify the data on which the results depended.

Senior officials in the Trump administration say the federal government has selected five companies as the most likely candidates to manufacture a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

Just days after more than 180 scientists raised questions about the statistical analysis and a lack of transparency in a hydroxychloroquine study in The Lancet, the researchers say they have "similar issues" with a recent New England Journal of Medicine study about the safety of heart drugs in COVID-19.

Scott Knoer, MS, PharmD, FASHP, was sworn in Monday as chief executive officer and executive vice president of APhA. "Being sworn in as the leader of this storied organization is the greatest honor of my life," Knoer said during a virtual ceremony witnessed by APhA members and staff.

A 5-day course of the investigational antiviral drug remdesivir led to greater clinical improvement for patients with moderate and severe COVID-19 disease in two Phase III SIMPLE trials, according to Gilead Sciences in a June 1 news release. Gilead’s findings support the preliminary results of the Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT-1) published in the May 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, which showed that remdesivir was superior to placebo in shortening the time to recovery in adults hospitalized with COVID-19.

CDC released updates to its guidance for pharmacies on Friday as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and pharmacists are recognized as an essential part of the health care system.  

FDA on Friday approved an estrogen and progestin combination product consisting of elagolix, estradiol and norethindrone acetate (Oriahnn—AbbVie) capsules, co-packaged for oral use, for the management of heavy menstrual bleeding associated with uterine fibroids in premenopausal women.

[UPDATE: Maryland has also taken steps to allow pharmacists to bill Medicaid for specimen collection. More to come.]

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has made clear that federal orders allowing pharmacists to order and administer FDA-authorized COVID-19 tests supersede state limits on scope of practice, and in at least one case has instructed a state pharmacy association to stop preventing pharmacists from testing for COVID-19. Now states are taking the baton, making widespread testing a possibility by creating pathways for pharmacists to bill for these services. Lack of avenues for payment has been a major barrier to increased access to COVID-19 testing at pharmacies.

In January, the Surgeon General released the first report on smoking cessation in 30 years. The report updates the latest findings on smoking cessation in the United States and highlights the important role pharmacists play in cessation efforts.