Pharmacy News: Cabbarrus College offers new online pharmacy technology degree program
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Pharmacy News: Cabbarrus College offers new online pharmacy technology degree program

Cabbarrus College offers new online pharmacy technology degree program

Cabbarrus College of Health Sciences, which is located in North Carolina, recently unveiled a new associates degree in pharmacy technology, the Charlotte Observer reports.

Officials told the news provider that the program is a result from discussions with hospital and community pharmacy workers who identified that more professionals were needed in the industry.

They added that the curriculum will involve 69 credits, which can be obtained through online, hybrid and traditional classroom courses. Students can also earn certificates in health services leadership for those who wish to pursue lead technician or management roles.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for pharmacy technicians equates to $13.32.

Students will work under licensed pharmacists and perform jobs such as packaging medications, preparing IV admixtures, helping dispense and deliver medications as well as maintaining patient profile records. The school also offers associates degrees in medical assisting, nursing, occupational therapy assistance, surgical technology and science.

According to U.S. News and World Report, enrollment in online programs has increased by 832 percent over the past the past nine years.

Internet drug scams can make you sick

BOSTON (MarketWatch) — Thinking of taking advantage of that super deal you just go emailed by an online pharmacy? Buyer beware: What looks like a fabulous deal on Lipitor could end up being a box of counterfeit drugs that will not only fail to lower your cholesterol but could be hazardous to your health.

Industry experts say a dismal economy is pushing more consumers to seek out prescription drugs on the Internet. But claims of deep discounts are often red flags that the site is bogus, and what you end up receiving in the mail could very well be counterfeit, stolen or even contaminated.

“Business is booming, unfortunately, especially in a down economy, where people think they can cut corners to save a buck,” said Special Agent in Charge Bruce Foucart of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

“The problem is the drugs you get might not be potent enough or could even make you sick,” he said.

Or worse. Fake drugs are behind an estimated 700,000 deaths from malaria and tuberculosis, according to a 2009 report from International Policy Network, a nonpartisan think tank.

The World Health Organization estimates that fake drugs comprise 10% of the global medicine market, and 25% of the market in developing countries, according to a 2006 report.

Experts say that consumers need to keep in mind that while medications bought through Internet-based pharmacies can be a bit cheaper, the prices don’t vary that radically from those offered at brick-and-mortar drug stores. And consumers should be extremely wary of sites that claim they can dispense drugs without a prescription, which is in violation of U.S. law.

The biggest problem with counterfeit medications is, quite simply, you don’t know exactly what’s in them. The level of the active ingredient needed could be too low to be of any therapeutic value or dangerously high. Or it might not be present at all.

The product could also be contaminated with stray material, as many counterfeit drugs are produced by foreign, third-party manufacturing plants that fall outside of the realm of regulators such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Another common stunt, according to ICE, is for traffickers to substitute cheaper over-the-counter drugs for more expensive prescriptions medications.

Last June, for example, FDA investigators uncovered a bogus Internet pharmacy advertising it could sell the popular flu medication Tamiflu without a prescription. An inspection of the shipped product showed that it wasn’t Tamiflu, a Roche (CH:ROG 132.20, +0.10, +0.08%) product, but a cheaper, penicillin-like product that
could’ve triggered a potentially deadly reaction in anyone allergic to penicillin.

Similarly, another FDA bust revealed that a website advertising the diet drug Alli at discount prices was actually shipping the drug sibutramine, also known as Meridia, an Abbott Laboratories product (ABT 48.70, +0.20, +0.41%) which was recently yanked from the market over safety concerns.

And just because the shipped product looks like the real thing doesn’t mean it is. Indeed, many experts complain that counterfeit packaging has become so slick, even they have a hard time distinguishing between a fake and the genuine article.

“You have to be cautious about where you’re buying from…because the counterfeiters are so good now in making copies of the real thing,” said Ilisa Bernstein, a deputy director for compliance at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “The technology has become more sophisticated.”

Village offers prescription drug discount card to residents

Wellington residents who don’t have health insurance or have prescriptions that are not covered by their insurance are now able to receive a discount on prescriptions with the National League of Cities prescription discount card available online and throughout the community.

“Residents will be able to get medication for a discounted price,” said human resource generalist Rose Taliau. “Discounts average about 20 percent and cost nothing for residents.”

The program is provided through CVS Caremark in collaboration with the National League of Cities.

“Wellington residents are able to participate in this program because of Wellington’s involvement in the League of Cities,” Taliau said. “If a city would like to participate in the program then they [National League of Cities] provide all the materials and information.”

The card is offered to all residents, said Christine Cramer, director of public relations for CVS Caremark. There are no age or income restrictions. She added that saving will vary by drug and by pharmacy, with more than 59,000 pharmacies nationwide pharmacies participating in the program.

“There is no cost to the resident or the city,” she said. “There are no enrollment fees or membership fees.”

Taliau said that the cards are available throughout Wellington at city hall, the community center, the Safe Neighborhoods Office and at the Village Park gymnasium as well as online at

“The website also shows residents which pharmacies will take the card,” Taliau said.

The program has additional features including a toll-free number, 888-620-1749, that along with the website provide residents with program tools and information, Cramer said. The website also provides prescription prices and health resources.

CVS Caremark has been administrating prescription discount programs since 1992, Cramer said. CVS Caremark derives revenue from the program in the form of a small fee that the pharmacy pays on each transaction, according to CVS Caremark documents.

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