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ASHP URGES PHYSICIAN GROUP NOT TO BE SWAYED BY ANTIGENERIC CAMPAIGNS

Executive Summary

ASHP URGES PHYSICIAN GROUP NOT TO BE SWAYED BY ANTIGENERIC CAMPAIGNS that are not based on "objective scientific data." In a Sept. 6 letter to the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Society of Hospital Pharmacists Exec VP Joseph Oddis said ASHP members "hope that the AAFP Congress of Delegates will seriously deliberate this matter as an important professional and public policy issue and will not be influenced by parties with a proprietary interest in the generic drug use debate," Oddis said. ASHP was responding to an AAFP board recommendation that the physicians academy adopt a policy opposing "blanket approval of generic substitution." AAFP's Congress of Delegates was scheduled to vote on the recommendation at its annual meeting, Sept. 16-18 in Los Angeles ("The Pink Sheet" Aug. 14, T&G-7). The delegates were expected to hear presentations from FDA Center for Drug Evaluation & Research Director Carl Peck, MD, and representatives of the Generic Pharmaceutical Industry Association, the American Pharmaceutical Association, the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists and the American Association of Retired Persons. "Drug product selection should be based on objective scientific data and individual patient-specific criteria, "ASHP maintained. AAFP's"broad-based criteria . . . are not scientifically based." Oddis added that drug product selection decisions are appropriately made by physicians and pharmacists working together. Pharmacists' "primary responsibility" of selecting suppliers of multiple-source prescription drugs "is recognized in the pharmacy practice acts of all states and is well accepted in the everyday practice of most physicians and pharmacists," ASHP said. Consequently, "it is puzzling why there is no mention in your statement of pharmacists and their role in drug product selection." Physicians' concerns about generic drug suppliers "would be best resolved at the local level through communications between the prescriber and the pharmacist," the association continued. Pharmacists, "by virtue of their education and experience, are qualified to aid in the evaluation of therapeutic response to specific drug products." ASHP does "not believe that it is in the best interest of the patient to obtain multisource drug products simply at the lowest price," Oddis noted. Association guidelines advise pharmacists to evaluate 30 factors when selecting drug products. The factors include quality information, such as analytical control, sterility testing, bioavailability data, and testing procedures; product recall history; compliance with compendial standards; and availability of therapeutic, biopharmaceutic, and toxicologic information. In short, physicians and pharmacists "have applied scientific principles to the objective selection of multisource drug products in a manner that has lowered patient-care costs," ASHP said. "Because of this record of success, it is astonishing to read the strongly negative attitude toward generic drug products reflected in AAFP's statement." "Rational drug product selection entails far more than simply consulting the FDA's 'Orange Book' ]of therapeutically equivalent drug products[ or looking at the price catalog," Oddis said. ASHP "data indicate that nearly 60% of the nonfederal short-term hospitals in this country have a well controlled formulary system" and that "approximately 65%" of those hospitals participate in group buying of pharmaceuticals, Oddis noted. Group purchasing includes "a formal approval process for suppliers of multisource drug products," he pointed out.
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