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Six steps compounding pharmacies can take to create and maintain a culture of quality assurance
IN MY VIEW
For pharmacies in the compounding business, quality assurance is a constant battle. And a company’s best defense - against problems such as medication errors, contamination, or potency issues - is a good offense. The pharmacy must always strive to create and maintain a culture of quality to ensure proper procedures, regulatory compliance, patient safety and, ultimately, healthy revenue to support the bottom line.
These principles have always been in force, but they have taken on even greater meaning after last fall’s tragedy at the New England Compounding Center, where contaminated vials of methylprednisolone acetate led to a meningitis outbreak that resulted in over 50 deaths, with hundreds more falling seriously ill.
Compounding pharmacies should waste no time in reviewing their quality assurance programs to ensure that they are up-to-date and effective as they take on today’s challenges.
Keys to quality assurance
Here are six examples of how your compounding pharmacy can maximize quality assurance:
Spread the word
Once you’ve established or solidified a strong quality assurance program at your compounding pharmacy, it’s important to convey that to your customers, especially in this era of intense regulatory and media scrutiny. They should see the efforts you are taking to keep their medications sterile, maintain drug potency, and ensure patient safety.
Proof of your company’s quality control procedures should not be kept out of sight. Print up a quality control chart and hand it out to the physicians with whom you do business. Show the medical team that your main concern is patient safety.
Take pride in the rigorous steps you take to ensure safe, quality, dependable products.
Ernest P. Gates Jr. is the president of Gates Healthcare Associates, a Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical and healthcare consulting firm.
Pullquote: Have designated quality assurance pharmacy staff to develop and maintain a comprehensive program that involves inspections, monitoring, measurement, and education.