The head of the nation’s largest trade group for the specialty pharmacies known as compounders said he will support legislation requiring pharmacies that operate like drug manufacturers to register with the Food and Drug Administration and be subject to stricter standards enforced by the agency.
The new position by the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacies follows a Washington Post investigation that showed 15 of the nation’s largest compounding pharmacies, which make custom-ordered medications, operate like drug manufacturers but do not have to register with the federal government or follow the same safety laws.
The Post also reported that shoddy equipment and unsanitary conditions at some of these firms had caused patient illnesses and deaths long before an October meningitis outbreak that was linked to tainted steroids made at a Massachusetts-based compounding pharmacy. Congress is investigating compounding pharmacies after steroid shots made at the New England Compounding Center were linked to the outbreak, which killed 47 people and sickened another 660.
“We want to enable and clarify for the FDA that those businesses that are involved in the manufacturing of compounded drugs, regardless of size, be regulated like drug manufacturers,” said David Miller, the academy’s executive vice president.
Miller and his 2,700-member group have traditionally argued that all pharmacies should fall under the purview of state pharmacy boards, not the FDA, and fought efforts in 2007 to shift primary oversight from the states to the federal government.
On Thursday, Miller said he now wants to see FDA registration for what he describes as compounding manufacturers and supports giving the agency the power to enforce safety standards for these firms.
“They’re singing a different tune,” said a congressional staffer who is knowledgeable about Capitol Hill discussions concerning the FDA’s role in regulating compounders.
Additional oversight is neededOfficials who represent state regulators say the change reflects a broader shift in momentum. There is now agreement within the industry that additional oversight is needed for pharmacies that go beyond the traditional role of filling prescriptions for individual patients
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