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Education of Pharmacists and the Labeling of Gluten in Medications

Beyond Celiac is committed to increasing awareness of celiac disease within the pharmaceutical industry, especially to address the problem of gluten in medications. Beyond Celiac works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and private organizations and corporations to meet our shared goal: safe pharmaceutical care for those who must maintain a medically necessary gluten-free diet. Beyond Celiac has been actively working on this issue since 2007 when former CNN anchor and Beyond Celiac spokeswoman Heidi Collins represented Beyond Celiac and spoke along with Beyond Celiac staff at the 2007 American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Clinical meeting held in Las Vegas, focusing on the personal impact of gluten in medications. The following year Beyond Celiac and the ASHP created continuing education programming for pharmacists and hosted two well-attended Gluten in Medications Educational Session events. Beyond Celiac then co-authored an article entitled ‘Medications: A Hidden Source of Gluten,’ which was published in the August 2009 edition of Practical Gastroenterology and the organization also participated in the FDA Public Workshop about Prescription Drug Risks and Benefits.

Since then, a Letter to the Editor penned by Beyond Celiac was published Hospital Pharmacy (2010), Alice Bast spoke at the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC (2010) and presented a statement at the FD’s Safe Use Initiative Public Workshop, appealing to the FDA to labeling the source of inactive ingredients that may contain gluten. In 2012, Beyond Celiac collaborated on a letter in support for the proposed Gluten in Medication Act of 2012 introduced by Representatives Tim Ryan (OH) and Nita Lowey (NY) and we delivered a document in response to the comment period for the FDA Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0842 advocating for labeling of gluten in medications. Beyond Celiac supports the reintroduced bill, which has yet to be given a house vote.

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