IACP strongly believed a Letter to the Editor was needed after reading Insurance Business America’s April 3rd article, “’Self-interested Providers’” Drive up Workman’s Comp Costs with Compound Drugs.”
Click here to read the Insurance Business America Article. See below to read IACP’s resulting Letter to the Editor, taking issue with the article’s content, intent and negative description of compounding.
April 14, 2014
To the editor:
Insurance Business America has done a disservice in its April 3 story on worker compensation costs (“‘Self-interested providers’ drive up WC costs with compound drugs”) not only to our nation’s compounding pharmacists, but to the millions of patients across the U.S. who rely upon compounded medications.
While we understand that CompPharma President Joseph Paduda is clearly watching a bottom line in relation to worker compensation costs, he is missing the big picture: the goal of worker compensation programs is to get workers back to work, and compounded medications – like commercially manufactured medications – play a role in returning these individuals to health and to work.
Compounded medications are vital for patients who have an allergy or sensitivity to a commercially manufactured drug or who need a drug in a particular strength or form. Moreover, compounded medications are essential for patients whose commercially manufactured drug is backordered or unavailable, which is increasingly common. Which drugs does Mr. Paduda want to restrict? Chemotherapy for the oncology patient whose commercially manufactured medication is unavailable? Liquid medications for patients on feeding tubes who cannot swallow oral medications? We are eager to know.
Compounded medications have uses, however, beyond patients needing a particular ingredient, strength, form, or dosage, or when a drug is unavailable. Compounded pain medications, for instance, are non-addictive. So as our nation faces a staggering human and fiscal cost relating to abuse of opioids, compounded pain gels and creams offer a safe alternative. Yet increasingly, insurers won’t cover this cost, and instead pay exponentially more as a result of abuse and diversion of Oxycodone and similar drugs.
Regarding Mr. Paduda’s comments on safety, where is the source that forms the basis of his opinion? He relates the story of New England Compounding Center, which we all know now to have been a drug manufacturer masquerading as a pharmacy and whose problems were known to, but ignored by, both state and federal regulators. There was not one mention of the thousands of compounding pharmacies across the U.S. every day providing medication according to the highest standards of pharmacy, United States Pharmacopeia (USP) 795 and 797, nor a mention of the new federally regulated class of outsourcing facilities that will be required to follow the same standards as drug manufacturers.
We would encourage Mr. Paduda and Insurance Business America to take a closer look at the benefits of compounded medications to patients and not just the bottom line cost
David G. Miller, R.Ph., EVP & CEO
IACP is Protecting, Promoting & Advancing Pharmacy Compounding.