Magazine article Drug Topics

ASHP Boots R.Ph. Assistant Idea, Backs Mandatory Error Reporting

Magazine article Drug Topics

ASHP Boots R.Ph. Assistant Idea, Backs Mandatory Error Reporting

Article excerpt

The messages were crystal clear. At ASHP's annual meeting in Philadelphia earlier this month, the house of delegates unanimously endorsed a resolution opposing the creation of a "pharmacist assistant" category between pharmacist and pharmacy technician. Supporters of the "pharmacist assistant" argued that the new position would help alleviate the current manpower shortage in health systems. But detractors asserted that R.Ph.s should be the only licensed practitioners to control all aspects of drug product handling in the patient care arena. In strong language, supporters of the resolution endorsed instead the optimal use of certified technicians as appropriate support personnel for R.Ph.s.

ASHP's house of delegates also finally put to rest its controversial med-error-reporting amendment, albeit not without a last-minute attempt to amend some of the language. ASHP supports a national standardized, uniform system of mandatory reporting of adverse medical events that cause death or serious harm. In the past, the organization adopted a neutral stance on the issue. In carefully crafted language, the amendment makes it clear that support of such a system is contingent upon certain characteristics, including legal protection of confidentiality of patients and health-care workers.

But during public debate on the amendment, Michael Cohen, president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), a strong supporter of voluntary reporting systems, suggested the house change the wording of the amendment to reflect that ASHP "does not" support a mandatory system unless certain characteristics were included. By a close margin, the house of delegates opted to stay with ASHP's original language. Following the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report released last year, ASHP's adoption of the amendment is considered key by industry observers who view med-error reporting as a major concern facing health practitioners and institutions.

In other business at the meeting:

The house of delegates voted to declare that pharmaceutical manufacturers, distributors, group purchasing organizations (GPOs), and regulatory bodies, when making decisions that may create drug shortages, should strive to prevent those decisions from compromising the quality and safety of patient care. It encouraged regulatory bodies during drug shortages to discourage drug company distributors and GPOs from taking advantage of the shortage in order to better position alternate brands or products. …

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