Thursday, May 15, 2014

Controversial compound scripts have a place in workers' comp

Millions of patients across the U.S. 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.

Take a closer look at the benefits of compounded medications to patients and not just the bottom line cost.

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