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Specialty Pharmacy ContinuumAdaptation Is Needed To Prevent Diversion In Community Pharms

Revised Guidelines to Focus on Strengthening Oversight and Accountability Amid Rising Challenges in Combating Controlled Substance Diversion

In a move to address the escalating issue of controlled substance diversion from community pharmacies (CSDCPs), the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) has unveiled updated guidelines. These new recommendations aim to mitigate the risks to patients, healthcare providers, and the broader community, especially in the face of workforce shortages and budget constraints.

HCN Medical Memo
For pharmacists, the updated ASHP guidelines offer a comprehensive framework for addressing the complex issue of controlled substance diversion in community pharmacies. Implementing these guidelines is not just a regulatory necessity but a critical step in maintaining patient trust and ensuring the safety of healthcare workers. The focus on community pharmacies is particularly timely, given the sector’s unique challenges and its crucial role in the healthcare system.

Key Points
  • ASHP’s revised guidelines were presented at the ASHP 2023 Summer Meetings & Exhibition and focus on community pharmacies.
  • Jordan Rush, PharmD, MS, emphasizes the need for vigilance in community settings, citing similar labor and financial strains as hospitals.
  • A 2021 Invistics/Porter Research survey found that 47% of healthcare professionals said staff turnover due to COVID-19 has made tracking drug diversion more challenging.
  • High-profile cases like McClaren Health Care and Sovah Health highlight the financial and health risks involved in controlled substance diversion.
  • Perspectives:
    • Larry K. Houck, JD, advises that healthcare facilities must invest in compliance measures early to mitigate risks:

“Healthcare facilities must invest in compliance early or pay and invest later.”
– Larry K. Houck, JD, a director at Hyman, Phelps & McNamara P.C. who specializes in litigation related to CS diversion

Additional Points:
  • The new guidelines include a range of security measures, such as installing cameras and conducting regular audits.
  • ASHP plans to keep the guidelines updated as virtual care sites and home infusion services expand.
  • Substances like human growth hormones and gabapentin may require further monitoring in the future.

More on Controlled Substances

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