The ongoing meningitis outbreak linked to a compounding pharmacy underscores the need for accreditation of both compounding and community pharmacies.
Only about 2% of all compounding pharmacies in the United States have received accreditation from the Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board, which conducts on-site inspections of facilities and provides voluntary accreditation. Critics say the lack of oversight puts consumers at risk and that the board is no substitute for the FDA.
In my September Editor’s Note, I suggested that it was a good idea to develop an accreditation program for community pharmacy. A recent article in the Washington Post talks about accreditation of compounding pharmacies and suggests that since so few compounding pharmacies are accredited, stronger governmental oversight is needed—although the article does quote some who feel that more government oversight is not needed. I wonder if the story would be the same if a majority of compounding pharmacies were accredited? I don’t think so.
Although it might be hard to imagine a scenario similar to the current meningitis outbreak in which a community pharmacy’s inappropriate activities would result in so many deaths, I think the outbreak underscores the need for an accreditation program for community pharmacy that inspires broad voluntary participation across the industry. Do you think I am stretching the issue or do you agree with me?
More Pharmacy Times coverage of the compounding pharmacy—associated meningitis outbreak: