ASHP to develop standardized concentrations of IV and oral drugs

September 23, 2015

ASHP has contracted with FDA to develop and implement national standardized concentrations for intravenous and oral liquid medications.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) will develop and implement national standardized concentrations for intravenous (IV) and oral liquid medications, thanks to a new FDA contract.

The FDA awarded the three-year contract as part of its Safe Use Initiative, which facilitates public/ private partnerships to reduce preventable harm from medications.

Medication errors involving IV and oral liquid medications are especially prevalent during transitions of care, ASHP noted. And hospitals must do more to prevent medication errors, estimated to harm at least 1.5 million patients annually.

See also: Hospitals unnecessarily diluting IV meds

“National standards are needed to help ensure patients are safe from accidental injury,” Deborah Pasko, director of medication safety and quality for ASHP, told Drug Topics. “Standardized systems have been shown to decrease errors in high reliability organizations.”

ASHP will first focus on continuous infusions for adult patients and oral liquids requiring specialized compounding techniques. ASHP will convene interdisciplinary expert panels for each area of focus and will use evidence-based methods to develop consensus for the standard concentrations.

The organization will provide progress updates on a routine basis. ASHP plans to present the FDA with final standardized lists for adult-based IV continuous infusions (including drug concentrations and associated dosage units) and for compounded oral liquid medications (drug concentration) by March 30, 2016.

“A public-private partnership of this nature, which combines the expertise and resources of the FDA and ASHP, will undoubtedly result in safer and more effective medication therapy outcomes for patients in the U.S. and beyond,” said ASHP CEO Paul W. Abramowitz, PharmD.