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Bill aimed at safer pharmaceutical compounding

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 14, 2013

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Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick in January proposed legislation designed to strengthen scrutiny of compounding pharmacies. The move comes in response to a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak traced to sterility lapses in the manufacture of an injectable steroid at Framingham, Mass.-based New England Compounding Center.

The bill would require more members of the state’s Board of Registration in Pharmacy to come from outside the pharmacy industry. It also calls for a special license for sterile compounding, fines for pharmacies that break the rules, and whistle-blower protections for pharmacy employees who report safety infractions. The measure would require out-of-state pharmacies delivering or dispensing drugs in the state to be licensed by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy.

“Together, these changes can ensure that the significant harms we have seen from substandard compounding are never allowed to happen again,” said Patrick, in a speech announcing the bill.

The state is conducting random inspections of compounding pharmacies. As of Jan. 7, the meningitis outbreak had sickened 664 people in 19 states and killed 40 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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