Drugs and sports: New niche for pharmacy
Dec 12, 2005
Whether it's the ongoing steroids controversy surrounding Major League baseball or another Olympic athlete being banned from competition, the use of illegal steroids and performance-enhancing drugs is clearly on the rise. Because of this, both collegiate and professional sports teams are finding themselves under increasing pressure to monitor the drugs their athletes take. While most, if not all, collegiate and professional teams employ athletic trainers and physicians on their staffs to treat injuries, few have a pharmacist on board to handle tasks such as the ordering and prescribing of Rx drugs for their athletes. That's where Robert Nickell, R.Ph. and president/CEO of SportPharm Pharmaceuticals, Torrance, Calif., and his company come into play. Licensed by the Food & Drug Administration and state board of pharmacy, SportPharm can deliver medications directly to athletes or supply the team physician with medications repackaged to strict FDA standards for dispensing or administration on an as-needed basis. And while the service may not be the same as having a pharmacist on staff, it appears to be the next best thing. While Nickell's business practices do not normally involve his working one-on-one with the athletes but instead through team physicians, his experience as the first-ever pharmacist for the U.S. medical team at the Olympic Games in Athens last summer took on a much different tone. There he was on call nearly 24/7 and had the chance to interact with the athletes directly. "My role is normally more to the medical staff than it is to the athletes, except when I was in Athens," said Nickell. "The biggest challenge was managing the venues. We had nine different venue locations with activities all going on at the same time. Each team had its own physician, so we had 15 or 20 physicians moving around the city, all needing drugs at the same time," he explained. ? So with the pressure to win and excel in competitive sports becoming ever greater and the use of performance-enhancing drugs at an all-time high, is it time for every team to have a pharmacist on staff? "It's a budgetary thing, so I don't know how quickly you'll see that," said Nickell. "But there is definitely a place for pharmacists in sports. We try to give them enough of a support foundation and from a drug information standpoint we have already done the research of the supplements and different products that they might need. We do the background so they don't have to."
Pfizer asked by FDA to take Bextra off the market (PFE)
By Tomi Kilgore
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has asked Pfizer (PFE) to withdraw its arthritis pain reliever Bextra from the market, due to an unfavorable benefit vs. risk profile. The FDA also asked the drugmaker to add a warning on its painkiller Celebrex about an increased risk of cardiovascular and gastrointestinal events. Pfizer's stock, a component of the Dow industrials, fell 4.2% to $25.73 in Instinet pre-open trading. All other makers of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were asked to revise their labels to add the same warning.