SUGAR LAND, Texas, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the International Academy
of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP) sharply criticized pharmaceutical
manufacturer Wyeth for manipulating the law and facts in an attempt to
restrict patients' access to customized bioidentical hormone replacement
therapy (BHRT). On October 6, 2005, Wyeth petitioned the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) to impose far-reaching restrictions on physicians'
ability to prescribe and pharmacists' ability to prepare and dispense
"Wyeth's aims are clear: to restrict the ability of physicians to
prescribe and patients to use customized BHRT following studies that have
raised serious health concerns with the company's own products," said L.D.
King, executive director of IACP. "When Johnson and Johnson discovered that
Tylenol had been contaminated, it didn't file a petition to limit access to
ibuprofen; it acted responsibly and fixed the problem. Wyeth would be wise to
follow this responsible course."
IACP said that one example of Wyeth's contorted logic in the petition is
that the company is trying to have it both ways: arguing that bioidentical
hormones are illegal because they are copies of off-the-shelf pharmaceuticals
on the one hand, and claiming that compounding pharmacists are fabricating
new, untested drugs on the other. The truth is that compounding pharmacists
are preparing bioidentical hormone replacement therapies, which doctors design
and prescribe to meet their patients' individual needs.
The organization also said the Wyeth petition is trying to mislead FDA by
suggesting that compounding pharmacists are "simply trying to dupe an
unsuspecting patient population." Wyeth knows full well that physicians must
prescribe BHRT for each patient before a pharmacist can provide her with this
medicine, just as they would order Wyeth's own medications. Yet Wyeth
completely ignores the role physicians play, never mentioning them in the
petition. To suggest that pharmacists who prepare customized medicines based
on doctors' orders are duping patients is an insult to all physicians,
patients and pharmacists, the organization said.
IACP said it will formally oppose the Citizen Petition in its own response
to FDA in the weeks ahead. The organization cited a number of other
substantive flaws with the Wyeth petition.
* Wyeth wrongly presumes that FDA's authority extends completely across
every facet of the practice of compounding. This is incorrect;
pharmacy compounding is a wholly distinct practice and is not subject
to the same requirements as manufacturing. Since the Food, Drug, and
Cosmetic Act of 1938 passed, compounding has been regulated by state
boards of pharmacy, not the FDA. In fact, because compounded
bioidentical hormone replacement therapies are prepared to meet
patients' individual needs, they are inherently incompatible with the
FDA's years-long new drug approval process required of manufactured
* Wyeth mischaracterizes the First Amendment protections to commercial
speech and misconstrues the U.S. Supreme Court's Western States
ruling. Wyeth is trying to undermine the Supreme Court's decision,
which found that "prohibitions on soliciting prescriptions for, and
advertising, compounded drugs amount to unconstitutional restrictions
on commercial speech." While the court also affirmed that
"misleading" advertisements are not protected by free speech -- a
ruling IACP supports and its policy reflects -- Wyeth's condemnation
of virtually any communication regarding BHRT is excessively broad,
contrary to Western States, and would violate the First Amendment if
enforced by the FDA.
* Wyeth relies on bad science to support many of its claims. The only
study Wyeth uses to support its contention that compounding is unsafe
has been criticized in the U.S. Senate and is not supported even by
the FDA. When pressed on the scientific value of the data during an
October 2003 Senate hearing on pharmacy compounding, FDA's then acting
director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Dr. Steven
Galson, explained, "I wasn't trying to present these as scientific
data. Most notably, I wasn't trying to use them to urge or call for a
new Federal regulation."
* In its filing, Wyeth itself blurs the line between synthetic and
bioidentical hormones. Most notably, Wyeth suggests that the National
Institutes of Health Women's Health Initiative (WHI) studied
bioidentical hormone therapies. It did not. Rather, WHI studied
Wyeth's products exclusively and the study was cut short in 2002 after
the data demonstrated that Premarin(R) (synthetic estrogen) increased
the risk of stroke and the components of Prempro(R), Premarin plus
progestin (synthetic progesterone), increased the risk of strokes,
breast cancer, heart attacks and blood clots. According to Wyeth's
latest annual report, sales of Premarin-related products suffered
since the study ended, having declined about 32 percent to $880
million in 2004 from $1.3 billion in 2003. The physical components of
BHRT are different from the components of Wyeth's synthetic hormones
that were studied by WHI.
* Furthermore, Wyeth has had its own problems with FDA rules governing
advertising. In a letter from FDA dated January 11, 1999, the FDA
said that promotional materials for Premarin were "false or
misleading, and promote Premarin for unapproved uses." One year
earlier, the company had received a letter saying that a television
advertisement for Premarin was "false or misleading."
As the Cincinnati Enquirer reported this month, "For some women, hormone
replacement therapy is the only thing that eases symptoms. More women are
turning to bioidentical hormones -- custom-compounded mixes of estrogens and
progesterone that are identical to hormones produced by the body."
Continued Mr. King, "Pharmacy compounding is performed by responsible,
trained professionals who have strong relationships with their patients and
their patients' physicians. The successful practice of pharmacy compounding
is predicated on full, open and honest communication between these three
groups of people. However, by attacking these communications and the ability
to treat patients, Wyeth's petition would do far more harm than good. As a
result, IACP will request that the FDA deny Wyeth's petition."
The International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP) is a non-
profit association founded in 1991 to protect and promote the art and skill of
the compounding pharmacy profession. We represent more than 1,800
pharmacists, physicians, technicians and patients who are committed to the
safe practice of pharmacy compounding. We are committed to ensuring the
rights of physicians to prescribe, of pharmacists to prepare and of patients
to take customized medications that meet their unique, individual needs.
SOURCE International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists