Is Pharmacy Oversight Up to Par? QMedRx Comments
QMedRx, a specialty healthcare and pharmacy services company, understands that a great deal of attention has been given to the pharmacy industry since the meningitis outbreak that took place in 2012. But the organization asserts that the negative press associated with this issue is overshadowing many of the positive aspects of the industry—particularly the compounding companies that provide individualized prescriptions to patients. The company asserts that improved enforcement of current laws would benefit patients and that organizations that are already upholding their responsibilities by complying with current regulations have nothing to fear from improved oversight.
According to an article published by The Huffington Post, “A report released Monday by House Democrats shows that most states do not track or routinely inspect compounding pharmacies. Staffers surveyed officials in 50 states about their oversight of pharmacies and then compiled the responses.”
While the question of whether or not stricter regulations regarding compounding are necessary is relevant, a more important consideration, a representative from QMedRx asserts, is the enforcement of industry policies. Regardless of what the regulations are, the representative asserts that they will prove ineffective if they are not enforced. The article contends that, according to a report provided by the Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, state-based regulating bodies are failing to manage the compounding industry and, as the meningitis outbreak has indicated, this failure has resulted in patient harm.
The aforementioned pharmaceutical representative explains that proper management of pharmacy activities is imperative to keeping patients safe: “The bottom line is that, unfortunately, greed plays an active role in the business world. While the very best pharmaceutical companies put the wellbeing of their patients first, it is true that some put profit before patients. Adopting stricter regulations may be appropriate in some situations, but these rules will prove as ineffective as the ones that are currently in place if they are not properly managed. The Food and Drug Administration, due to budget cuts and other constraints, does not have the resources to properly manage the compounding pharmacies across the country. This is a responsibility that state-level organizations hold—and it is one that they should ensure is upheld in order to protect the health of their residents.”
Compounding pharmacies are important aspects of the industry because they provide a unique service. These are organizations that create custom medications based upon the prescriptions provided by doctors. This allows individuals who have allergies or who need to take a medication in a certain form (i.e. transdermal, or liquid instead of pill) to still have access to the pharmaceuticals necessary to improve their health without exacerbating other conditions. As such, compounding is an essential part of providing medication to all patients.
The pharmaceutical representative quoted above goes on to explain that compounding is an important part of not only treating patients but also building strong relationships with patients and their families: “We have established long-term relationships with patients because we are able to see to their unique needs. No two patients are the same, so it is only natural that pharmacies should provide a way for individuals to access medications that are tailored to their specific needs. The key, though, is to ensure that the companies providing compounded medications are following through with their responsibility to keep their patients safe and see to it that they are taking the right prescriptions. The question, though, is where this regulation is going to come from. With the FDA strapped due to budget cuts and state governments facing limited resources, the industry needs to create a solution that will both allow patients to continue to benefit from the compounding process—and allow honest companies to continue to provide compounded medications to their patients—and see to it that the processes that pharmacies follow are focused on the best interest of patients.” Tightening regulations and allowing the FDA to widen their jurisdiction will only limit patient access to medications. State board regulations need to be better enforced to ensure safe pharmacy practices which continue to give patients access to the medication they need.
The representative goes on to note that the leaders of the pharmaceutical industry have a challenge before them with regard to determining the best way to regulate the field; however, the representative also encourages compounding professionals to contribute to the solution to this problem by voicing their ideas. QMedRx looks forward to seeing how the government and the pharmaceutical industry are able to resolve this issue and continue to push toward the highest degree of patient care possible.
A specialty healthcare and pharmacy services company, QMedRx was founded in 1990 in Florida and continues to provide targeted, timely support to patients across 48 states, Puerto Rico and Guam. Accredited by the ACHC, the organization provides a high degree of support to patients and their families. The long-term, positive relationships that the company has established with its clientele have allowed it to offer trusted, reliable service that assists patients in achieving their health goals. The pharmacy is an in-network provider for numerous insurance companies, allowing it to supply the value that patients are looking for on today’s market.