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ASHP: Continually in pursuit of hypocrisy. Part I

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In reading the 2011 American Society of Health System Pharmaicsts (ASHP) CEO report recently published I was struck on a number of levels. It brings up issues around leadership, courage, integrity, informatics, fiscal and professional responsibility. This first response is about the absurd hypocrisy exhibited in the report. I will address these other issues in subsequent postings.

The hypocrisy starts with the title “Continually in the pursuit of the truth”. This is so far from reality as to render the title and its contents almost laughable. The tactics employed by our CEO are reminiscent of the political ploys undertaken by fringe elements on both sides of the political aisle. They hope that through sheer repetition and misdirection that their statements and distortions will actually become “the truth.” The actual truth has and will always prevail in the end. 

In addition to elaborating on the ‘pursuit of the truth’ in the title, the CEO talks about the “policy issues that will translate into important actions on behalf of our membership”. Consider this statement in light of ASHP’s woeful inaction on the Eric Cropp case. The history of this case represents one of the most tragic events in hospital pharmacy history and a gross miscarriage of justice for health system pharmacists. <Link> In this case, a hospital pharmacist, Eric Cropp, was incarcerated for doing exactly what hospital pharmacists, or ASHP’s membership, do every day. Human error and set of system circumstances resulted in the death of an infant. Now consider the ASHP policy on a just culture for heath professionals. The application of this policy to the Cropp case clearly points to an unambiguous travesty of justice. Even the father of the infant has acknowledged that Mr Cropp was “lynched” by the State of Ohio. 

So, if we are to take the CEO at his word, that there is a continual pursuit of the truth and important action taken on behalf of membership, then is it reasonable to assume that there was some action taken on this injustice? Did ASHP do anything to uncover the facts in the case or take a stand on this issue? Clearly, a constituent being incarcerated for doing his job, despite the tragic result, is an issue of great importance to its membership. You would think that it should rise to the level of the organization being moved to take “important actions” based on their policies. A true leader should have the courage to stand up for justice. Yet the leadership of ASHP did nothing. They buried their head in the sand and did not even bother to pursue the truth. They did nothing during the trial and subsequent incarceration of Eric Cropp. 

ASHP’s deafening silence continued. Did they help the cause championed by the parents of the dead infant to pass landmark legislation in Ohio around pharmacy technicians? Nope, nada, nothing. Trumpeting the pursuit of truth and policy issues translating to their membership is laughable. This type of hypocrisy and misdirection is disgraceful from a leader of a pharmacy organization. We deserve better.

2011 Report of the Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer: ASHP: Continually in pursuit of truth. Am J Health Syst Pharm August 15, 2011 68:e62-e65; doi:10.2146/sp110017. Full Text; Full…


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