House unveils bill to police specialty pharmacies

(AP)—House lawmakers have introduced legislation that would bring more federal oversight to large specialty pharmacies like the one that triggered a deadly meningitis outbreak last year.

The bill introduced late Thursday by Republicans and Democrats would subject large compounding operations to regular inspections, fees and other requirements from the Food and Drug Administration. Currently state boards oversee pharmacies, including compounders that mix customized medicines.

The effort comes almost a year after the emergence of an outbreak linked to contaminated drugs from a Massachusetts pharmacy, which killed at least 64 people and sickened 750 more. The bill's co-author, Representative Morgan Griffith of Virginia, said the legislation would prevent similar outbreaks and ensure the "quality and safety of all compounded drugs in the country."

The Senate introduced similar legislation in May.

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