Blogs: The Reinvented Pharmacist

Minimum Standards in Pharmacy

Published Online: Thursday, December 19, 2013
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) recently revised the “ASHP Guideline: Minimum Standard for Pharmacies in Hospitals.” As I read Bruce Hawkins’ note about the document’s revisions, many memories were stirred. The original document went back to 1953, but when I started my residency/MSc program in 1961, my preceptor and mentor, Clifton J. Latiolais, often talked about foundational aspects of hospital pharmacy’s development. He saw the development of these standards as critical to the growth in hospital pharmacy. It set a foundation for hospital pharmacy service and provided a guide for how a hospital pharmacy director could advance pharmacy services.
I have often thought about how different hospital pharmacy has been from community pharmacy in this regard. Minimum standards for community pharmacy were usually set by state boards of pharmacy and not by the profession. I believe that the willingness of hospital pharmacy practitioners to set standards for themselves is a reason hospital pharmacy has made such great strides.
On the other hand, I feel that the lack of professionally developed minimum standards in community pharmacy has held it back. This is the reason I have supported accreditation for community pharmacy. Making a pharmacy program accountable to a set of standards developed by the profession offers the opportunity to advance the profession, raise overall quality, and, perhaps most importantly, assure greater practice uniformity. What do you think?
Fred Eckel, RPh, MS, Editor-in-Chief of Pharmacy Times
Blog Info
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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