Explanations and unresolved issues pertaining to the development of the Nuclear Pharmacy Compounding Guidelines

Joseph C Hung, Samuel C Augustine, Kenneth T Cheng, Richard L Green, Wade M Hopkins, David L Laven, Brigette R Nelson, Neil A Petry, James A Ponto, Timothy M Quinton, Dennis P Swanson
Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association: APhA 2002, 42 (5): 789-98

OBJECTIVES: To provide background information related to the development of the Nuclear Pharmacy Compounding Guidelines, to discuss regulatory complexities related to radiopharmaceutical compounding practice, and to summarize the gaps in the current compounding regulations for radiopharmaceuticals.

DATA SOURCES: The Guidelines closely follow the provisions of section 503A of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), the monographs and chapters related to pharmacy compounding in the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), and the recommended guidelines published by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

SUMMARY: The Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act (FDAMA) of 1997 established parameters under which the compounding of drug products is appropriate and lawful, but these criteria expressly do not apply to radiopharmaceuticals. The Nuclear Pharmacy Compounding Practice Committee, a group of nuclear pharmacists convened by the American Pharmaceutical Association, developed the Nuclear Pharmacy Compounding Guidelines to establish a set of principles and guidelines for good radiopharmaceutical compounding practice. The intent of the new document is to provide guidance on radiopharmaceutical compounding practices that have evolved over the last 2 decades and to place them in an appropriate regulatory framework in accordance with previous enforcement policies and guidelines issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the exemption of certain pharmacy practices from enforcement of adulteration, misbranding, and new drug requirements.

CONCLUSION: The Nuclear Pharmacy Compounding Guidelines, recently released by APhA, is the first official document that provides realistic and practical compounding guidance for nuclear pharmacists. Even though the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently ruled section 503A of the FD&C Act to be invalid in its entirety, and the Supreme Court upheld that ruling, the compliance policy guides issued by FDA in March 1992 and revised in May 2002 maintain guiding principles on pharmacy compounding similar to those stated in section 503A of the FD&C Act. The Nuclear Pharmacy Compounding Practice Committee is optimistic that the practical information contained in the Guidelines will assist state boards of pharmacy, FDA, and the United States Pharmacopeial Convention in setting appropriate standards for nuclear pharmacy compounding practice that will ensure the continued availability of high-quality compounded radiopharmaceuticals at reasonable cost.

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