On November 13, 2013 Senator Harry Reid of Nevada asked for and was granted permission to address the floor of the United States Senate regarding drug safety.
“Mr. President, the symptoms of fungal meningitis can be very subtle at first: headaches, fever, even light can start bothering people, as well as neckaches and backaches. The disease can also cause strokes, seizures, and even coma.”
“Fungal meningitis led to the death of at least 64 unfortunate Americans when they were injected with a contaminated medicine. The medicine–a steroid injection used to heal back pain–was tainted by unsanitary conditions from a facility that was masquerading as a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts. The true compounding pharmacies provide custom-made medications for patients with unique health needs that cannot be treated by off-the-shelf prescription medicines. This practice is essential and can be critical for children, cancer patients, and people with severe allergies”, he said.
“The contaminated medicine mixed at the New England Compounding Center was sent to scores of medical facilities in 23 different States and given to 14,000 patients. As I have indicated, 64 of them died and hundreds of those patients were seriously ill. Recently a heart medication mixed at the same pharmacy was linked to the death of two young Nevada boys, ages 4 and 6, according to a lawsuit filed by their parents. The New England Compounding Center was skirting Federal regulations and manufacturing large batches of drugs for mass distribution in very unsanitary conditions. By avoiding the safety inspections required of large-scale drug manufacturers, companies such as this one can boost profits, but in the process they risk lives”, said Senator Harry Reid (source: Congressional Record http://thomas.loc.gov).