Blake Sears, a 4th year PharmD student from the Atlanta area who is studying at Regis University in Denver, CO, recently had the opportunity to do his rotation here at Innovation Compounding!
“I didn’t know much about Innovation Compounding before stepping through the door on my first day of the rotation,” says Blake, “Little did I know that I would be learning from and working alongside some of the best and brightest individuals in the compounding pharmacy industry.”
During his first week at Innovation Compounding, Blake’s interest and passion for pharmacy advocacy became clear, and was invited to join Shawn Hodges, PharmD and Mitchell Bell, PharmD for “Compounders on Capitol Hill” in Washington D.C.—both of whom are strong advocates for patients and compounding, and are actively involved in several professional organizations.
Compounders on Capitol Hill (CCH) provides not only education for compounding pharmacists, technicians, students, and industry experts, but also opportunities for pharmacy professionals to speak directly to their elected officials about problems facing patient safety and access to compounded medications. This year, over 400 individuals attended CCH, which provided students like Blake and others an abundance of new networking opportunities. A few of the educational topics at CCH included:
- “How to Successfully Interact with Media to Preserve Patient Access,” by David Ball of Ball Consulting Group LLC
- “What’s Happening in the States? State Legislative and Regulatory Update,” by David Kosar of the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations
- “Pharmacy Design Considerations for USP <800>,” by Brian Prince of Lab Red Pharmacy Consultants
- “Compounding Compliance: SOPs and Staff Training,” by Brenda Jensen of Compounding Consultants LLC
- “FDA and State Board of Pharmacy Inspections: How are Inspections Impacting Patient Access?” by Shawn Hodges, PharmD; Erika Fallon Pharm.D. of Fallon Wellness Pharmacy; Robert Stannard Esq. and Stephen Snow Esq. of Bendin Sumrall and Ladner LLC; and Jay McEniry of Consors Consulting Group
The Keynote Speaker, Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA), also spoke about HB 2871, “Preserving Patient Access to Compounded Medications Act of 2017,” a bipartisan bill cosponsored by Congressman Griffith and Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX).
HB 2871 is comprised of two parts:
- The first part of the bill gives patients access to compounded medications that can be used in an office or hospital setting. The law currently prohibits a pharmacy from compounding a specialty or back-order medication without first obtaining a valid, patient-specific prescription. The problem with the current legislation is that, during an emergency, it would be impossible to order, prepare, and ship the needed drug in a timely manner. HB 2871 would allow pharmacies to provide these medications in advance, giving patients access to them when they need them.
- The second part of HB 2871 pertains to the compounding of dietary supplements. For years, pharmacies have been allowed to compound dietary supplements just as they would medications. However, recent FDA guidelines prohibit pharmacies from compounding dietary supplements unless a drug monograph is available. The problem with this requirement is that dietary supplements are not considered drugs and thus do not have drug monographs. The solution proposed by HB 2871 would allow pharmacies to compound dietary supplements once again.
In short, HB 2871 is a patient access bill that allows pharmacies and pharmacists to provide appropriate and necessary medications to patients in need.
On their last day in DC, Blake and the Innovation team met with US Senators and Representatives to request support of HB 2871. They were assigned to meet with the representatives and senators from Georgia, which included Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA), Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), Senator David Perdue (R-GA), and Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA). Overall, Congress was receptive to Innovation’s message of protecting patient access to compounded medications in order to provide the best possible outcome to our patients.
“This past week was a once in a lifetime chance for any PharmD student,” says Blake, “I am so thankful to the Innovation Compounding team for the expert knowledge, qualified guidance, and professional mentorship that was given to me in D.C. and throughout my entire rotation. I will truly miss this group when I transition to my next rotation.”
Author: Innovation Compounding on behalf of Blake Sears, PharmD Candidate