APHA Praises New Funding for Public Health Programs


American Public Health Association pic

American Public Health Association
Image: apha.org

A practicing pharmacist since 2005, Ashok Pinnamaraju is the owner of Williamson Road Pharmacy, an independent retail dispensary based in Roanoke, Virginia. Outside of his everyday work at his store, Ashok Pinnamaraju stays current with developments in his field through membership in groups such as the American Public Health Association (APHA).

In March 2018, APHA publicly praised lawmakers for public health funding included in the greater omnibus package passed by Congress. Institutions such as the CDC and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will receive major funding increases, with much of the investment going into training and ongoing professional development of members of the public health workforce.

The CDC will get more than $800 million in new money, with upwards of $500 million going toward programs to help prevent opioid abuse and overdoses. HRSA will also get a $500 million boost under the new package, with money allocated for primary health, maternal care, and rural health programs.


APhA Supports Surgeon General Advisory on Naloxone


American Pharmacist Association (APhA)

An experienced pharmacist who has been practicing for more than a decade, Ashok Pinnamaraju is the owner of Williamson Road Pharmacy, an independent retail pharmacy located in Roanoke, Virginia. Outside of his daily work, Ashok Pinnamaraju stays active in his field through membership in groups such as the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

The APhA recently weighed in on a new advisory issued by the surgeon general recommending that people who are frequently with family and friends at risk of overdosing on opioids consider keeping a dose of naloxone on hand in their homes. Naloxone is an emergency medication that can temporarily reverse opioid overdose effects.

While many emergency services personnel carry the drug, it is important to administer the drug as soon as possible, especially in rural areas where it may take an ambulance extra time to get to an overdosing individual. One of the primary ways that loved ones can obtain this potentially life-saving drug is through a pharmacist.

NCPDP Sends Representative to White House Opioid Summit


Image: NCPDP.org

Ashok Pinnamaraju owns Williamson Road Pharmacy in Roanoke, Virginia. A pharmacist with more than 10 years of experience, Ashok Pinnamaraju maintains membership with the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs, or NCPDP.

In March, the White House convened a summit to discuss the ongoing opioid epidemic plaguing the country. The three-hour meeting featured Steve Mullenix, RPh, the NCPDP’s senior vice president of public policy and industry relations, as well as Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, and other key stakeholders in the administration.

The White House has put a renewed focus on the development of practical solutions to deal with the growing crisis of addiction to opioid pain medications. The administration will convene future panels and will compile the results in a series of memos that will be sent to the president’s desk for consideration in the context of potential policy changes.

Generic versus Name-Brand Medication

Medication pic

Image: webmd.com

For more than a decade, Ashok Pinnamaraju has been working as a pharmacist. He began his career as an overnight pharmacist at Walgreens and has since served as the owner of Lexcare Pharmacy and Floyd Pharmacy. Currently, Ashok Pinnamaraju leads Williamson Road Pharmacy in Virginia as owner and works with clients to ensure they get the medications they need at an affordable price.

Contrary to popular belief, generic medications are tightly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Typically, the FDA lets generic medications enter the market after about seven years of a brand-name drug’s exclusivity. For the first six months after generics are allowed, only a single generic manufacturer is allowed to sell the medicine. After that period, any manufacturer can sell a generic medication, but it must prove that it meets certain requirements.

All generic drugs are required by the FDA to have the same active ingredients as name-brand medication. These active ingredients must also be of the same strength as name-brand medications, have the same route of administration, and contain the same dosage. Furthermore, the drug’s concentration in the blood needs to be within 10 percent of the name brand’s concentration. However, most medications only vary by about 3 to 4 percent.

One area that the FDA does not regulate is the inactive medications in the generic medication. Because generic medications may contain an inactive ingredient that can cause an allergic reaction or has a negative interaction with another medication, it is important for the consumer to be aware of these differences. Some inactive ingredients may also slow down how quickly the active ingredients work once in the body, meaning a generic medication may seem to work more slowly than name-brand medication. Still, this difference is usually not very large.