Budget Victim: Inspections For Compounding Pharmacies. Really?

Remember all that outrage last year when we learned that a Framingham compounding pharmacy, the New England Compounding Center, was at the heart of national meningitis outbreak? And remember what followed: a flurry of new government oversight measures, tough public health safeguards, pledges of “Never again.”

So what happened?

Kevin Outterson, a professor at the Boston University School of Law and co-director of the Health Law Program, reports today that additional money that was supposed to be used to inspect compounding pharmacies around the state was cut to zero. At least for now.



Blogging for The Incidental Economist, he reminds us why the inspections are important: “fungal meningitis from improperly compounded products killed 55 people and infected more that 600.” But apparently, in the latest state budget proposal, money for inspections has been cut, Outterson writes:

All of these products originated in Massachusetts, but all of the injuries occurred in other states. But Massachusetts felt some responsibility for the failures at NECC, as acknowledged by both Gov. Patrick and the Interim Commissioner of Public Health. The DPH enacted emergency regulations on Nov. 1, 2012 and the Governor’s special commission delivered a comprehensive set of recommendations. Both efforts informed the Governor’s proposed legislation in January 2013 and several bills pending in the Massachusetts House and Senate. Continue reading