ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Standards Help to Fill Prescriptions: American Pharmacists Month 2007


New York, Oct 03, 2007

Across the United States, more than 230,000 pharmacists work to fill prescriptions, provide health counseling, and advise patients on side effects and potential drug interactions. October 2007 marks the first-ever American Pharmacists Month, which is intended to advance consumer understanding of the pharmacist's role as a medication advisor. Voluntary standards and compliance programs ensure the safety and clarity of drug packaging, labeling, and pharmaceutical equipment, allowing pharmacists to focus their attention on the well-being of their patients.

Did You Know?

  • Pharmacists must graduate from an accredited college of pharmacy and pass a state examination.
  • Year end sales for all traditional drug stores in the U.S. reached an estimated $189.3 billion in 2006.
  • Estimates indicate that over 4.1 billion prescriptions will be dispensed in the U.S. in 2010.

Sources:
National Association of Chain Drug Stores
U.S. Department of Labor



ANSI member the United States Pharmacopeia publishes the USP-National Formulary (USP-NF), which has been designated by the U.S. Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act as the official compendia for drugs marketed in the United States.

Filling a prescription is faster and more convenient than ever thanks to a new standard from ANSI-accredited standards developer the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs, Inc. (NCPDP). Providing general guidelines for developers of pharmacy or physician management systems, ANSI/NCPDP SC V10.1-2007, SCRIPT Standard Implementation Guide, addresses the electronic transmission of new prescriptions, prescription refill requests, prescription fill status notifications, and cancellation notifications.

Pharmacists sometimes need to interpret a doctor’s handwriting, but prescription labels are always clear and easy to read thanks to a standard from ASTM International. ASTM D6398-01e1, Standard Practice to Enhance Identification of Drug Names on Labels, covers shape, size, color, layout, typeface, and barcode issues to ensure legibility and consistency for all prescription drugs.

Innocent curiosity can quickly become dangerous if children are able to access pill bottles and syrups. Another standard from ANSI-accredited standards developer ASTM International provides test methods for child-resistant caps and lids. ASTM D3472-97, Standard Test Method for Reverse-Ratchet Torque of Type IA Child-Resistant Closures, addresses the measurement of the torque produced in a typical “push down and twist” type closure.

Safe and consistent manufacturing processes play a major role in the quality and effectiveness of prescription drugs. 3-A Sanitary Standards, Incorporated (3-A SSI), an ANSI-accredited standards developer, has a number of standards currently under development to address equipment materials and terminology for the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients. This work is being led by a new steering committee, dubbed the P3-A Council, operating under the umbrella of 3-A SSI with a particular focus on chemical manufacturing equipment standards and formulation/fill/finish equipment standards.

Standards also provide guidance during the billing process. ANSI/NCPDP FB V1.0-2005, Formulary and Benefit Standard, provides a means for health plans and pharmacy benefit managers to communicate needed information to prescribers using technology vendor systems.

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