Magazine article Drug Topics

M.D.S on R.Ph.S

Magazine article Drug Topics

M.D.S on R.Ph.S

Article excerpt

Attempted prescription-switching by pharmacists for a fee paid by drug companies was strongly condemned by the American Medical Association at its recent annual meeting in Chicago.

The AMA also denounced what it called the practice of medicine by pharmacists and called on the American Pharmaceutical Association to adopt similar policies.

An APhA spokeswoman expressed regret that the issues had come to the floor of AMA's house. APhA has had dialogue with the AMA on the subject of proper pharmacy practice in the past.

"But with the distraction of healthcare reform, we have found it difficult to have substantive discussions with the AMA on this issue," said Lucinda Maine, senior director for pharmacy affairs. Maine noted that APhA already has developed a set of Guidelines for Medication Incentive Programs.

The policy adopted by the AMA house was far stronger and more extensive than the resolution originally introduced by the South Dakota medical delegation. That resolution had called on the AMA to "oppose" the practice of a pharmacist recommending to a patient that the patient's prescription be changed to a product manufactured by a company that then reimburses the R.Ph. with a "consultant" fee for the switch.

But in a reference committee hearing, it was suggested that the word oppose be changed to condemn. The committee chose the word denounces and added two additional resolve clauses. One "denounces" the practice of companies offering such payments to pharmacists, and the other "denounces" the practice of medicine by pharmacists.

In addition, the committee changed the title of the resolution from "Pharmacists Counseling Services" to "Opposition to Payment for Prescription Switching." The committee noted that the practice continues among pharmacists despite efforts by the Food & Drug Administration to curtail it. The house adopted the reference committee's recommended changes without discussion or dissent.

In another vote, the AMA house adopted a series of resolutions recommended by its Board of Trustees relating to labeling of prescription drugs.

It called on pharmacists to put a "beyond-use date" on all Rx medications and that this be done in accordance with the recommendations of the United States Pharmacopeia and National Formulary (USP 23-NFI8 (official) January 1, 1995.

It also urged the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention Inc. to collaborate with pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacy organizations, and the FDA to continue to explore development of appropriate stability tests to determine "more scientifically sound" beyond-use dates for repackaged products. …

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