September 4, 2020

Board approves new Code of Ethics, will require members to subscribe to it

The APC Board of Directors this week approved a reinvigorated Compounder Code of Ethics and a requirement that APC members indicate that they will abide by the tenets of the code as a condition of membership in APC.

“This new code and the commitment we’re asking our members to make to it is an essential step in rebuilding the reputation of our profession in the wake of serial scandals by bad actors,” said APC President Shawn Hodges of Kennesaw, Georgia. “The fact is, the overwhelming majority of us are consummate professionals. This new Code of Ethics is meant to be a North Star for compounders, and APC will promote it and inculcate it via our communication and education offerings.”

The new code of ethics was recommended by a special APC Ethics Working Group chaired by Dr. Loyd Allen of Edmund, Oklahoma. The impetus for the new code is inferred in the preamble of the working group report:

Seldom a month goes by without at least one report in news media somewhere in America of unethical or illegal behavior — and the legal consequences of that behavior — related to pharmacy compounding. Pain cream scams, Medicaid fraud, and worst of all, occasional patient harm, have come to be mainstays of healthcare reporting. While it’s true that the reported unethical behavior is limited to a relatively few bad actors — almost never APC members — the image and reputation of all compounding pharmacists and pharmacies have been harmed and continue to be affected by those ongoing disclosures of indictments, convictions, fines, sentencings, license revocations, and patient lawsuits.

Unethical behavior in pharmacy compounding amounts to an existential threat to compounding pharmacists and pharmacies and to patients’ access to compounded medications in America. It is not enough to note that pharmacy compounders help literally millions of Americans live better, healthier lives if the public perceives them as unethical and unsafe as a result of the behaviors reported in the news.

Read the complete report, which includes the new Code of Ethics, here.

The new code includes 10 commitments focused clinical practice, professional development, business practices, serving as ambassadors for the compounding profession.

The requirement that APC members subscribe to the Code of Ethics will take effect for new members starting January 1, 2021, and for renewing members upon their renewal date thereafter.

In addition to Dr. Allen, Ethics Working Group members included A.J. Day, Houston, TX; Stacy Hightower, Aubrey, TX.; Phung Matthews, Woods Cross, UT; Gary McCrory, Sugar Land, TX.; Jon Pritchett, Cary, NC; Renee McCarthy, Annapolis, MD; and Joe Navarra, Woodbury, NY.