Pharmacists, researchers argue drugs should get quality scores

A group of pharmacists and researchers released a paper May 26 advocating for a quality scoring system for prescription drugs.

The paper, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, argues that a scoring system would encourage drugmakers to manufacture medicines with better quality, incorporate transparency into the U.S. drug supply chain and limit shortages.

In the proposed plan, private entities would develop scores by gathering and analyzing data on the drug in question and referencing criteria from healthcare systems. 

A ratio would measure a facility's number of inspections against the number of instances where regulatory issues were identified. The score would also contain information about customer complaints. 

"The system is envisioned to work similar to Carfax for used cars. There are many parallels between medications and a used car — a bottle of meds that an individual receives will often have travelled thousands of miles, touched many different hands and be a year or two old," pharmacy executive David Light told STAT.

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