This morning the American Pharmacist Association (motto – Improving Medication Use. Advancing Patient Care) published a Policy and Position Paper discouraging pharmacists from creating the drug cocktails used by states in executions.
Their reasoning, which I think makes sense, “Pharmacists are health care providers and pharmacist participation in executions conflicts with the profession’s role on the patient health care team.”
Hmm, I wondered to myself as I heard the National News Correspondent report the new policy, did this same group take a position or publish a new policy when Virginians were being killed three years ago by tainted pharmaceutical products manufactured in Mass. by New England Compounding Center? Did they take a public stand on the issue? After-all, I think 12 people died in my local hospitals from meningitis and the Commonwealth of Virginia doesn’t execute that many people in a year?
Thankfully, it appears the same group was involved in advocacy during the meningitis outbreak of 2012. In a letter to the Senate, the APhA states “Pharmacists engaged in compounding are expected to follow appropriate procedures for the types of products that are compounded. In the case of injectable medications, specific procedures, tests and standards to ensure the sterility and integrity of the compounded product already exist. USP outlines standards for sterile compounding that must be followed regardless of practice setting.”
While that may seem like a very technical and nuanced statement, what it says is that the group does indeed condemn companies like NECC for not following the rules, and regulators for missing it.
I am glad this organization seems to be consistent with their desire to promote health and not harm. I am delighted they are willing to stand up for patients in every possible way.