ASHP Joins FDA Effort to Ensure Integrity of Drug Supply
The Counterfeit Alert Network, introduced today by FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan, is composed of a variety of health professional organizations, industry trade organizations, and consumer groups. Each partner organization will disseminate rapid alerts about counterfeiting incidents as well as provide their members with strategies for identifying and reporting counterfeit drugs.
Participation in the Counterfeit Alert Network is a continuation of ASHP’s ongoing efforts to keep its members up-to-date about problems in the pharmaceutical supply chain. The Society’s Section of Pharmacy Practice Managers has developed recommendations that practitioners should follow to help prevent the acquisition of counterfeit drugs. The strategies (available online at http://www.ashp.org/practicemanager/ASHPAnti-counterfeitingStrategies.pdf) counsel practitioners maintain regular contact with primary wholesalers and state boards of pharmacy, establish system-wide procedures for reporting suspicious products and institute security measures to minimize the risk of diversion or entry of counterfeit products into the pharmacy. The Society also provides rapid alerts to members and hospital pharmacy departments about counterfeit drug incidents.
Commissioner McClellan also presented the report of the FDA Counterfeit Drug Task Force. The report, which calls for adoption of secure business practices by all participants in the drug supply chain, stronger anti-counterfeiting measures by the states, and implementation of new technologies to protect the drug supply, is consistent with recommendations ASHP made to the task force in October 2003. “We are encouraged by the FDA’s efforts to address this critical safety issue and eager to participate in this new initiative,” said ASHP Executive Vice President and CEO Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D., Sc.D. “The work of the Task Force and the Counterfeit Alert Network are essential to protecting patients from the dangers posed by counterfeit products.”
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 www.safemedication.com.