By J.M Rubin, MD
The United States Pharmacopeial Convention is a non-profit organization that sets standards for the strength, quality and the purity of medicines that are manufactured and used worldwide. In the US the FDA enforces these standards.
A number of years ago allergy extracts used for allergy skin testing and desensitization treatment (shots) were exempted from the same rules that applied to other medications because there was no evidence that any infections were caused by allergy skin tests or shots and there is still no evidence to the present time.
Recently the USP reopened an analysis of the issue. If allergists are unable to make dilutions in their office, allergy skin tests will have to be replaced by more expensive blood testing. Dilutions of allergens would have to be done by the manufacturer (for treatment injections). This will significantly add to the cost of treatment at a time when we all are looking at ways to cut costs, not increase them.
Dr. Rubin is Emeritus Chief of Allergy at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel in NYC and Associate Clinical Professor at Icahn School of Medicine of Mt. Sinai. Fore very detailed analysis and call to action by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology ; the American Rhinologic Society; the American Association of Otolaryngic Allergy; the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; and the Allergy and Asthma Network by clicking here.