I speak to a lot of veterinarians looking for hints on how to determine what is a pharmacy actually saying when they use industry jargon and roundabout phrases like “PCAB Accredited” and “We follow USP.” Veterinarians want to make sure that the pharmacies they use are legitimate, and that the studies they have up on their sites are unbiased and factual. I’m here to help you increase your understanding of pharmacy claims and decode the accreditation jargon.
Claim #1: PCAB Accredited – “I Can Prove That I Have Gone Above and Beyond”
The Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board (PCAB) has set the only truly cohesive professional standards for compounding pharmacies. Not all compounding pharmacies undergo the rigorous process of being accredited by the PCAB, so when they do, they’ll most likely let you know with trust badges on their website.
However, it is important to remember that not all PCAB accredited pharmacies are accredited in both non-sterile and sterile compounding. Non-Sterile Pharmacy Compounding (USP Chapter 795) accreditation covers medications and compounds like oral suspensions, suppositories, capsules, and transdermal creams.
Sterile Pharmacy Compounding (UPS Chapter 797) accreditation covers medications and compounds that require a sterile environment for preparation like injections, infusions, and ophthalmic preparations. If your pharmacy claims PCAB accreditation, inquire about which accreditations they hold—sterile, non-sterile, or both.
Claim #2: Following USP – “I Promise You Can Trust Me, I Follow the Law”
Compounding pharmacies must adhere to the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). The USP is a scientific, non-profit organization that sets the standards for the identity, strength, quality, and purity of medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements manufactured, distributed, and consumed worldwide.
When a pharmacy says they adhere to USP, they are basically saying “We follow the laws that we are supposed to follow.”
As an aside, veterinarians should become more familiar with USP as we are obligated to (and, in the near future, I predict will be legally bound to adhere to) USP standards as medical professionals. For example, and with more to come, the USP 800 Hazardous Drugs is a chapter that covers the handling of hazardous drugs for the safety of personnel and environment alike.
Claim #3: Veterinary Case Studies – “I Want More Veterinary Business”
A certification of veterinary compounding competence does not exist. While having veterinary studies present implies that a pharmacy is up to date on the latest in veterinary medicine, they could also indicate that a pharmacy employee knows how to use Google. Look for explanations and proper context, as well as analysis of the studies to see if a pharmacy actually knows what they are posting.
However, even if the studies are placed masterfully, marketing materials with animals and veterinary studies do not validate a pharmacy as competent in veterinary compounding.
The takeaway is this—accreditations definitely mean something, but not everything. As the only unified compounding accreditation, you don’t want to use a pharmacy that is not PCAB certified. Likewise, you want a pharmacy that follows USP because it is the law.
However, the accreditations themselves do not guarantee quality into perpetuity, so be sure to ask probing questions and do some research of your own before settling on a pharmacy. Veterinary compounding competence can only be determined by the close relationship you need to have with your compounding pharmacy.
Start a lifetime relationship with a compounding pharmacy you can trust, and call EPC toll-free at 888-733-0300 ext 3 to speak with a qualified specialist.