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Press Release

ASHP Responds to Wall Street Journal Article on Compounding

ASHP's response to February 27,  2004, Wall Street Journal article, "As Druggists Mix Customized Brews, FDA Raises Alarm."


March 2, 2004

To the Editor:

The recent Wall Street Journal article about contaminated medications sheds light on a serious risk to patients ("As Druggists Mix Customized Brews, FDA Raises Alarm," February 27, 2004).

Yet there are many occasions when a compounded medication fills an urgent — and sometimes life-saving — patient specific need, such as when a medication is required in a special dose or form that is not commercially available.  Pharmacists who work in hospitals and health systems assure that this important service to patients is applied in a safe manner by qualified pharmacists. 

To ensure the safety of compounded medications, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) is engaged in numerous initiatives, including:

  • Working with other organizations to assess the need to create a quality assurance process for pharmacies that compound, as well as a certification program for pharmacists who compound,
  • Publishing practice guidelines for pharmacy compounding,
  • Publishing research assessing pharmacists' compounding practices in health systems, (American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, December 15, 2003), and 
  • Educating lawmakers and policymakers about the important role of safely prepared compounded medications in ensuring public health.

This is a critically important public health and safety issue.  It is equally important that there is a balance between making compounding services available to patients while offering a high level of assurance that compounded medications are safe to use.

Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D., Sc.D.
Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer
American Society of Health-System Pharmacists


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, or