American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)

By: Ellen Scharaga

As Senior Vice President of Operations at OncoMed Pharmacuetical Services, I oversee a wide range of my company’s practices, including pharmacy-vendor relations, product development, and contract negotiations. I also maintain affiliation with several of the pharmaceutical industry’s professional organizations, such as the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, the Pharmaceutical Society of New York, and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).

The 31,000-member-strong ASHP has its roots in the American Pharmaceutical Association (APHA), which gave hospital pharmacists their first national platform in 1936. The ASHP was first formed in 1942 as an APHA-affiliated organization, with a mission of establishing minimum standards of hospital pharmaceutical service, promoting the development of new pharmaceutical techniques, and encouraging rational use of medicine. The ASHP continues to support these ideals to this day through educational conferences, numerous publications, and its Best Practices for Health-System Pharmacy. The ASHP also publishes the respected American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy and the Handbook on Injectable Drugs. These and other print and online materials provide invaluable resources for professionals in the pharmaceutical field.

Over the decades, the ASHP has developed additional core strengths, including residency accreditation as well as professional policy development and  advocacy. The ASHP is currently involved in the critical issue of ensuring an sufficient supply of medicine in the U.S. The ASHP Drug Shortage Resource Center pinpoints drugs that are in short supply and seeks ways of making them more widely available.

At the November 2010 Drug Shortages summit, the ASHP and its co-conveners agreed to work together towards eliminating regulatory barriers hindering the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and drug manufacturers from ensuring a steady supply of necessary drugs. In particular, the ASHP noted that completing a New Drug Application (NDA) for unapproved drugs is a costly and complicated process that acts as a disincentive for producing certain drugs commercially. Another issue is the lengthy and unpredictable application process required by the FDA for changes to already FDA-approved medicines. To learn more about the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the advocacy, education, and accreditation projects it undertakes, visit www.ashp.org.

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