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

The number of naloxone orders dispensed in Ohio surged by 2,328% after the Ohio General Assembly approved a law in 2015 allowing pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a prescription, according to a recent study in JAMA Network Open. With prior studies estimating a 14% reduction in death by opioid-related overdose in states where access to naloxone is increased, the findings are significant.

Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said Monday that the evolving coronavirus outbreak could persist in the United States into next year, while stressing that public health interventions could still reduce the spread of the virus and cases of illness and death.

On February 27, 2020, FDA announced the first reported drug shortage brought on by the recent COVID-19 outbreak. The agency did not identify the drug but stated that the shortage is “due to an issue with manufacturing of an active pharmaceutical ingredient used in the drug” and is “related to a site affected by coronavirus.” FDA assures that there are alternative drugs patients can use during the shortage, and that it is doing everything possible, including working with manufacturers, to mitigate the issue.

As the coronavirus spread to two-thirds of U.S. states, Americans began to grasp the magnitude of the threat facing them. Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington said on Sunday that he is considering mandatory measures to help keep people apart.

CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) met in Atlanta on February 26–27, 2020, to discuss the current influenza season and vaccine effectiveness; coronavirus; the Ebola, dengue, and rabies vaccines; as well as other immunization topics.

States are moving to prevent insurers from charging members for coronavirus testing, putting pressure on the industry to ease costs that might discourage people from getting diagnosed and treated. California and Washington on Thursday became the latest state to require that insurers make the testing free for their customers.

To strengthen an existing warning about the risk of neuropsychiatric events associated with the drug, FDA announced Wednesday that is requiring a boxed warning for montelukast (Singulair—Merck, and generics). The drug is used to treat asthma and allergic rhinitis.

Officials from Seattle and King County, WA, report that the first deaths linked to the new coronavirus in the United States happened last week, days earlier than previously known, as the death count rose and is expected to continue to climb.

FDA on Monday approved isatuximab-irfc (Sarclisa—Sanofi-Aventis U.S.), in combination with pomalidomide and dexamethasone, for the treatment of adults with multiple myeloma who have received at least two prior therapies including lenalidomide and a proteasome inhibitor.

APhA, along with the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), the Arkansas Pharmacists Association (APA), and the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA), filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the Rutledge v Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) case. Oral arguments in the case begin on April 27, 2020, with a ruling typically coming several months later. Access the brief at https://apha.us/AmicusBrief.