APhA Issues Statement on John Oliver's September 29 Segment on Compounding Pharmacies

Sunday night's episode of John Oliver's Last Week Tonight on HBO included a segment on pharmacy compounding. The American Pharmacists Association makes the following statement:

In the quest for humor, important messages may have been lost in Sunday evening’s television rant deriding pharmacists’ services. These included that “compounding pharmacists play an important role in patient care” and “lots of people need compounding drugs.” Clearly many of the outdated examples in the piece are no longer relevant.  

Compounding is the practice of pharmacy with an emphasis on preparing customized dosage forms and/or prescription medications to meet an individual patient's or physician's needs. Today, compounding also addresses the needs of veterinarians, dentists and their patients. These services are important to consumers because patient access is provided to vital medications when commercially available dosage forms do not exist.  

The segment correctly states that Congress appropriately passed federal legislation, the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA), signed into law by President Obama in 2013, to regulate compounding. 

APhA was pleased Congress passed a federal law to regulate compounding. As the professional society representing all pharmacists, APhA remains committed to working with state Boards of Pharmacy, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other stakeholders to make certain that nothing like what occurred at the New England Compounding Center (NECC) happens again.  The NECC tragedy was unauthorized manufacturing, not compounding. 

As stated by APhA’s House of Delegates policy “APhA urges state boards of pharmacy to identify and take appropriate action against entities who are illegally manufacturing medications under the guise of compounding.” 

APhA supports both Congress’ and the FDA’s efforts to ensure drug quality and security as the provision of safe, effective medications, including compounded medications, which is of paramount importance to our members and the patients they serve.