I recently wrote a piece about my frustrations in determining whether certain medications were gluten-free or not (summary note: It's not always easy to determine). I also posted testimony I submitted to the FDA on gluten-free labeling of medications. Most recently I had an experience at a local CVS where I discovered that my kid's CVS digital "profile" did note that she had Celiac Disease but that the pharmacist on night duty claimed that he "never heard of Celiac." After I informed him about it, I asked if you would find out but he replied that it was not possible to find out "after hours" but that he would leave a message for the pharmacist on duty in the morning.
As it ended up, the pill manufacturer did have a 24 hour service (I called them myself). The CVS pharmacist also told me to "go online and find out." When I explained that some of the websites seemed difficult to decipher and were of unknown reliability, he responded by saying, "We don't have internet at the pharmacy." (Note: I did then asked him if he carried a smart phone but he ignored the question).
My big point: Pharmacies must 1. Take note if patients have Celiac Disease (Sprue) in their digital profile 2. Make note of the pill manufacturer AND LOT NUMBER on the pill bottle (use of wheat or corn in gelatinized starch or modified food starch varies from lot to lot) and 3. Contact the pill manufacturer (with lot number in hand) to determine gluten-free status of the pills.
With prevalence rates conservatively estimated to be 1/130 companies like CVS and Ostco need to be on high alert that they may well be poisoning thousands of patients daily. Aside from the moral question, the legal ramifications are huge. I keep telling them this, but if the FDA fails to step in soon, the lawyers will begin parachuting in just as they did in the McDonald's class action gluten suit.