ASHP Offers Strategies to Protect Against Counterfeit Drugs
Health-system pharmacists now have a resource to aid their ongoing efforts to ensure the integrity of drug products. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) has developed strategies that practitioners should follow to help prevent the acquisition of counterfeit drugs.
The recommendations encourage pharmacy departments to educate pharmacy staff and other health professionals on the problem of counterfeiting and how to screen product packaging. Practitioners are advised to be in regular contact with primary wholesalers and state boards of pharmacy, to limit the use of secondary distributors, and to establish system-wide procedures for reporting suspicious products. The guide also includes a list of suggested security measures to minimize the risk of diversion or entry of counterfeit products into the pharmacy and a list of medications at high-risk for counterfeiting. The recommendations will be updated as new information becomes available.
The recommendations, developed by ASHPs Section of Pharmacy Practice Managers, are part of ASHPs efforts to keep its members up-to-date about problems in the pharmaceutical supply chain. They can be found on-line at http://www.ashp.org/practicemanager/ASHPAnti-counterfeitingStrategies.pdf. The Society also provides rapid alerts to members and hospital pharmacy departments about counterfeit drug incidents and maintains an online Drug Shortage Management Resource Center that provides updates on current drug product shortages and recommends therapeutic alternatives.
ASHP is the 30,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, ambulatory care clinics, long-term care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP, which has a long history of medication error prevention efforts, believes that the mission of pharmacists is to help people make the best use of medicines. Assisting pharmacists in fulfilling this mission is ASHP's primary objective. The Society has extensive publishing and educational programs designed to help members improve their professional practice, and it is the national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs. For more information, visit ASHPs Web site, www.ashp.org or www.safemedication.com.