Senate questions pharmacy boards after outbreak

November 19, 2012

(AP)—A Senate committee investigating a deadly outbreak of meningitis wants to know how regulators in all 50 states oversee specialty pharmacies like the one that triggered the illness.

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions sent letters to all 50 state boards of pharmacy, seeking details about oversight of compounding pharmacies.

Contaminated injections from the New England Compounding Center have been blamed for an outbreak of that has killed 33 people and sickened 480.

Compounding pharmacies, which mix customized medications based on prescriptions, are traditionally overseen by state pharmacy boards. But larger compounders like the NECC have emerged in the last decade, mass-producing thousands of vials of drugs that are shipped nationwide.

That trend has prompted calls for federal oversight by the .

Explore further: FDA chief seeks new powers to police pharmacies

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