Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Legislation would require New Jersey compounding pharmacies to earn accreditation


New Jersey lawmakers want pharmacies that mix their own medicines to earn accreditation after mistakes by a New England company killed dozens and sickened hundreds nationwide.

The New England Compounding Center, based in Massachusetts, closed and filed for bankruptcy amid wrongful-death lawsuits filed last year after the center’s drugs were implicated in killing 44 people and infecting hundreds of others — including at least 48 patients in New Jersey.The center manufactured and distributed steroid medication to health providers across the country, including several in Cumberland County. The medicine was contaminated with fungus that could cause meningitis in patients.The scandal has put compounding pharmacies under more national scrutiny, particularly in New Jersey where pharmaceuticals remain the state’s No. 1 industry.State Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, introduced a bill that would require pharmacies that mix their own medications to earn accreditation through one of several national boards.Van Drew, a dentist from Dennis Township, said his interest is primarily with sterile compounding, not the compounding that most pharmacies in New Jersey routinely perform. He is working on the bill with the New Jersey Board of Pharmacy.“Your regular pharmacy compounds all the time. As a dentist, they have compounded things for me,” he said. “They don’t need additional requirements thrust upon them, quite frankly. But sterile compounding does need additional oversight.”Pharmacies for generations prepared drugs for individual patients until relatively recently, when large pharmaceutical companies took over most of those duties.

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