APhA delegates tackle some issues, sidestep others

May 2, 2005

During the annual meeting of the American Pharmacists Association in Orlando, Fla., last month, the house of delegates adopted resolutions on clinical trials, compounding, and methamphetamine precursors. But it passed the buck to the board of trustees on several other issues, including confusing ingredients in some over-the-counter products and a call for a study of mail order as a potential terrorist target.

During the annual meeting of the American Pharmacists Association in Orlando, Fla., last month, the house of delegates adopted resolutions on clinical trials, compounding, and methamphetamine precursors. But it passed the buck to the board of trustees on several other issues, including confusing ingredients in some over-the-counter products and a call for a study of mail order as a potential terrorist target.

The delegates gave a thumbs-up to voicing APhA's support for giving health professionals and the public access to clinical trial data from scientifically valid studies. The resolution also called for APhA support of the establishment of a single, independent, publicly accessible clinical trial database. An amendment to restrict the clinical trial database to only drugs that have won Food & Drug Administration approval was defeated.

The delegates also put APhA on record in support of companies that offer multicomponent vehicles for compounding to list all ingredients and to restrict claims about the vehicles to the structure and function of the ingredients in those vehicles. This is unless clinical evidence exists to support more specific claims. In addition, APhA encourages pharmacists to secure bioavailability data in support of any claims by companies for systemic delivery of active ingredients in multicomponent vehicles. Stricken from the resolution was a statement that APhA support the marketing of compounding services but oppose marketing of such compounded drugs outside the patient-pharmacist-prescriber relationship.

Resolutions headed to the board of trustees include a call for APhA to urge the FDA to stop companies from using trade names on OTCs that don't necessarily contain the active ingredient in the original product, such as Tavist, Alka-Seltzer, and Dramamine. Also referred was a resolution to encourage the use of only generic drug names for single-active-ingredient products, to avoid look-alike or sound-alike medication errors.

The risk of potential terrorism through prescription drugs was raised by Warren Winston on behalf of the Illinois Pharmacists Association. The resolution called on APhA to evaluate the terrorism security risk of any distributor's being the sole source of medications to any group of federal or state employees and retirees. Citing the 2001 anthrax scare, he pointed to a proposal for Illinois employees and retirees to get all their prescriptions from one mail-order pharmacy as an example of an opportunity for terrorists to inflict damage on a target government. This resolution was also forwarded to the APhA trustees.

In other news, APhA announced that it would be renovating and expanding its headquarters. To this end, it has formed a capital campaign committee, revealed former APhA president Calvin Knowlton. He told attendees that the addition to APhA headquarters would be large enough to accommodate a subtenant to help defray the cost of the mortgage. He added that because of the renovation, scheduled for completion by 2008, APhA staff might be housed in temporary quarters in the interim.

Carol Ukens