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Compounding pharmacies – it’s not just about steroid deaths

An excellent piece by a couple gentlemen from Liberty Mutual describes the myriad problems with and risks of compounding medications – over and above the disastrous faulty steriods from the New England Compounding Center.

A few highlights:

  • “oversight of compound medicines actually is minimal…And as with any industry that has minimal regulation and oversight, there is great potential for fraud and abuse. The lure of possibly significant profits also is helping drive this fraud trend.”
  • “these drugs do not use the standard national drug codes (NDC). This lack of a standardized coding allows unscrupulous providers to easily double bill payers for the same medication. Also, the absence of NDC codes generally does not allow for payers or administrators to apply drug utilization edits to incoming compounded bills.”
  • “The FDA does not require pharmacies to report adverse events associated with compounded drugs. Based on voluntary reporting, media reports, and other sources, the FDA has become aware of over 200 adverse events involving 71 compounded products since about 1990.”

There’s much more at the link.

Thanks to Sarah Sellers, PharmD, for the tip.

Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates




A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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