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

Mark your calendar: CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP) will host “Let’s Talk About Cholesterol: Facebook Live Cholesterol Experts’ Panel,” on Monday, February 25, at 12:30 PM ET. Access the event at facebook.com/millionhearts.

Statins are an effective, low-cost therapy for reducing cardiovascular risk, yet they remain one of the most controversial classes of drugs. A new scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) aims to clear up some of the known and perceived risks of statins by providing clinicians with an evidence-based breakdown of the various adverse effects and concerns linked with statin therapy.

Janet Woodcock, MD, director of FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, reports the agency is continuing an investigation and recall of a class of drugs used by millions that began last summer. Starting in July, separate lots of blood pressure medications from various companies were pulled from pharmacy shelves.

U.S. health spending is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 5.5% in the next decade, CMS's Office of the Actuary reported Wednesday. National health expenditures are expected to reach nearly $6 trillion by 2027, the report said.

FDA is cautioning consumers about establishments that are offering infusions of plasma from young donors that claim to treat the effects of a number of conditions, ranging from normal aging and memory loss to dementia, multiple sclerosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Thousands of drugs are recalled each year after reaching pharmacy shelves and ultimately the homes of unsuspecting people across the country, according to the findings of a recent Kaiser Health News (KHN) investigation. The ever-expanding recalls of medications containing losartan and valsartan have garnered significant attention in the media. However, these recalls may be just one example of a problem that is more widespread than previously thought.

The flu season strengthened in February, but according to the latest statistics from CDC, this has been a low-severity flu season overall. As outlined in the February 15 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, outpatient visits for flu-like illness are low, as are hospitalization rates. Compared with recent flu seasons, fewer deaths are being attributed to pneumonia and influenza, as well.

A Washington state House committee on February 15 passed a bill to ban the personal or philosophical exemption for the vaccine against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) for school-age children amid an outbreak of the highly infectious virus.

Interim estimates from CDC suggest that this year's influenza vaccine is providing about 47% protection against all influenza infections.

FDA announced in February the launch of a pilot project program to test innovative ways for drug supply chain members to overcome barriers in the development of the enhanced electronic, interoperable “track-and-trace” system. The pilot project program seeks applications from groups of trading partners, including pharmacies, to take an active role in testing advance systems that are expected to inform how final track-and-trace systems will work as Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) implementation progresses.