Script for trouble

April 26, 2013 

The New England Compounding Center, a Massachusetts pharmacy, specializes in compounding or creating customized drugs based on doctors’ prescriptions. It’s an ever-growing part of the pharmacy business. And it’s a facet of that business that the vast majority of people, used to going to the drug store to pick up their prescriptions, might never have known about except for a series of deaths last year. Injections distributed by NECC killed more than 50 people and caused hundreds more to fall ill.

Now U.S. House Democrats have released a report they commissioned that showed that most states (which generally are charged with regulation through their own pharmacy boards) don’t track or inspect compounding pharmacies. Only two of the 49 states that responded to the congressional probe could even say how many compounding pharmacies there were in their states. And those two states, Missouri and Mississippi, also were the only ones that required permits or licenses for such pharmacies.

So now those Democrats from the House Energy and Commerce Committee want the Food and Drug Administration to be given oversight of these types of pharmacies, and they’re right.

Permits and licenses should be required, period. And the FDA is the obvious choice to do this duty.

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