Tuesday, March 26, 2013
TN pharmacists say compounding loophole needed because of drug shortages
Legislators have narrowed the scope of a bill that would have removed Tennessee’s patient-specific requirement for mixing medicines — a safeguard that compounding pharmacies violated and the state did not actively enforce.
A new amendment to the bill would allow health care providers to buy compounded medicines without individual prescriptions whenever a drug product is not commercially available. Persistent drug shortages are the reason this loophole is needed, according to Baeteena Black, executive director of theTennessee Pharmacists Association, and the two legislator-pharmacists who are sponsors of the legislation, Sen. Ferrell Haile and Rep. David Shepard.
“How many lives are you going to lose because you don’t have medication?” Haile said.
If Tennessee had enforced the patient-specific requirement, hospitals would have had a much harder time securing medicines that have been in short supply, such as propofol for patients on ventilators and intravenous calcium supplements for premature babies, Black said.
“It would have been a crisis,” she said. “There’s not enough to go around. Some patients would have to do without. They would have to try alternative drugs that might not be the drug of choice.”
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