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Tuesday, 27 September 2011 12:36

Amid Drug Shortages, Compounding Pharmacies Offer Solutions For Growing Problem

Pharmacists Are Often The Only Option For Vital Pediatric And Cancer Prescriptions

HOUSTON: September 27, 2011—Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA) today urged its member pharmacists to continue to work closely with physicians, patients and hospitals in an effort to reduce the growing issue of drug shortages. Drug shortages impact a range of patient conditions and issues from Vancomycin, a solution that allows pediatric and elderly patients unable to swallow pills to take oral antibiotics, to Cytarabine, a treatment for leukemia, and 5 Fluorouracil, which is used in many chemotherapy treatments. 

Compounding pharmacists create specific medications—including those in short supply—based on a physician’s prescription, using quality pharmaceutical ingredients to help ensure that patients get the critical care they require.

“The American health care system is experiencing historic and increasing rates of drug shortages,” said Jim Smith, PCCA President. “An increasingly popular option is the local compounding pharmacy with highly trained, accredited compounding pharmacists who can be part of the solution and help reduce the growing delays, especially for pediatric and cancer treatments.”

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) currently names 201 medicines on its drug shortage list, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a similar list of drug shortages based on manufacturer reporting. During an FDA-sponsored forum on drug shortages Monday, a representative from the Drug Information Resource Center (DIRC) reported tracking 210 “new” shortages over the first nine months of 2011, with more than 260 cumulative shortages, new and ongoing.

A July 2011 American Hospital Association (AHA) survey said 99.5 percent of hospitals reported experiencing one or more drug shortages in the last six months with nearly half of the hospitals reporting shortages of 21 or more drugs. In the same survey, 82 percent of hospitals said they have delayed treatment while 69 percent said drug shortages resulted in patients’ receiving medicines deemed less effective. Veterinary drug shortages have also been reported as a number of drugs designed for humans can also be used for animals, under certain conditions.

“This is not a short term issue,” said David G. Miller, RPh, Executive Vice President and CEO, International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP), an organization complementary to PCCA. “Millions of Americans rely on our IACP members for their unique health care needs every day and compounding pharmacies continue to be a vital resource for our nation’s healthcare system.”

IACP is a professional association representing more than 2,100 pharmacists and technicians who focus upon the specialty practice of pharmacy compounding. More than 154,800 patients and prescribers who rely upon compounded medicines also belong to IACP through its P2C2 patient/practitioner advocacy group.

PCCA member pharmacists have access to the highest quality pharmaceutical ingredients and can fulfill a prescription using the latest research, quality control processes, and testing technologies to create compounded medications that meet the individual needs of patients.

“We supply an extensive network of excellent compounding pharmacists,” said Smith. “During this increasingly widespread drug shortage, the PCCA network of member pharmacies can support physician, hospital and the public’s needs—quickly and effectively.” PCCA offers the Find A Compounder™ online tool, a quick, easy service to locate member pharmacies for hospitals, physicians and patients: http://www.pccarx.com/contact-us/find-a-compounder/.

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About PCCA

Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA), the leader in pharmacy compounding since 1981, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. PCCA supports member compounding pharmacists as they meet the unique healthcare needs of patients through exceptional service, highest-quality products, shared innovations and education. PCCA—holding its 2011 International Seminar in the Houston area in October—is the nation's complete resource for fine chemicals, equipment, devices, flavors, accredited training and education, pharmacy software, marketing, business and pharmacy consulting assistance. PCCA membership includes more than 3,900 independent community pharmacists in the United States, Canada and Australia. For more information, visit PCCA online at www.pccarx.com, or use Find A Compounder™ online tool to locate a member pharmacy in your area: http://www.pccarx.com/contact-us/find-a-compounder/.