Saturday, September 14, 2013

Meningitis outbreak prompts bill in Congress

U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, has teamed up with two Democrats on a bill that would tighten government scrutiny of compounding pharmacies like the one linked to a meningitis outbreak in Southwest Virginia.

The bill filed Thursday seeks to clarify the authority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over certain types of pharmacies that in the past have mass-produced drugs and distributed them across the country.

One of the facilities that escaped FDA regulation was the New England Compounding Center of Massachusetts.

The compounding pharmacy has been blamed in lawsuits and government reports for producing tainted steroids that made their way last fall to the Roanoke Valley, where patients who received injections of the drug for back pain came down with fungal meningitis.

“As we approach the anniversary of the fungal meningitis outbreak that devastated so many families across the nation, including Southwest Virginia, it is vital for Congress to take action to prevent another public health crisis,” Griffith said.

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