Blogs: The Reinvented Pharmacist

Who Should Regulate Compounding?

Published Online: Friday, November 16, 2012
In testimony before a congressional committee, the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists' chief executive officer said that his group would cooperate with lawmakers investigating compounding pharmacies, but he also said that the FDA and state regulators already have strong enough laws at their disposal to shut down unsafe pharmacies. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD, said compounders have repeatedly fought the FDA’s authority in court and stronger laws are needed.
What should Congress do and what should state boards of pharmacy do in light of the New England Compounding Center disaster? 
Will new federal laws or state regulations lead to better enforcement or not? I come down on the side that says we don’t need new laws—we just need to enforce the ones we have. The other side might say that the current situation is at best confusing. So we need to clarify who we want to be in charge and what we want them to be in charge of. 
Is compounding truly a part of the practice of pharmacy and thus should remain under the control of each state’s pharmacy practice act? I think it is and so it should be governed by each state’s board of pharmacy. When it ceases to be compounding and becomes manufacturing, then it should be under the FDA.
I thought that was what we had in place now. Could the issue be that some agency didn’t do its job right? Rather than create new rules and laws, maybe we ought to focus on doing better what we are already empowered to do. What do you think?
More Pharmacy Times coverage of the controversy over compounding pharmacies:
Fred Eckel, RPh, MS, Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacy Times
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This blog focuses on what our Editor-in-Chief sees as the future of pharmacy.
Author Bio
Fred Eckel, RPh, MS, is the Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacy Times, a position he has held since 2002. Mr. Eckel is a professor at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He serves as executive director of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists.

In this blog, Eckel will provide commentary on relevant issues impacting pharmacists and pharmacy professionals, including the merging of pharmacy benefit managers, the implications of health care reform, the conversion of major drugs from prescription to over-the-counter, trends in pharmacy careers, and opioid abuse. He will also discuss legislative issues that impact pharmacists, and comment on the evolving role of the pharmacist.
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