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7/17/2003
Press Release

ASHP Applauds FDA Efforts to Protect Consumers From Counterfeit Drug Products

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) applauds the announcement yesterday by Commissioner of Food and Drugs Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initiative to protect American consumers from counterfeit drugs.

"Ensuring the integrity of medications used in hospitals and health systems is an absolute public necessity and a longstanding commitment of health-system pharmacists," said Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D., Sc.D., ASHP executive vice president and chief executive officer. The problem of counterfeit drug products in the U.S. supply chain has been of growing concern to hospital and health-system pharmacists, and ASHP looks forward to helping the FDA ensure that patients never receive a counterfeit drug.

Last month, ASHP adopted a policy encouraging the FDA to require that accurate documentation be kept of each drug product's "chain of custody," from the original source through ultimate distribution to the pharmacy. "It is essential for public safety that every medication is tracked as it moves through the distribution system," said Manasse. "Complete transparency of the 'chain of custody' provides a critical safeguard in protecting patients from counterfeit medications."

ASHP will develop advice for its members on an array of measures they can take to help ensure that all medications used by patients in hospitals and health systems are authentic. ASHP also looks forward to working closely with the FDA task force as it identifies mechanisms for strengthening the nation's protections against counterfeiting.

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 ASHP’s Web site, www.ashp.org, or its consumer Web site, www.safemedication.com.