Maryland health officials critical of compounding pharmacies in JAMA report

State health officials in an article in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association criticized the oversight of compounding pharmacies and said the facilities need to take more responsibility in protecting patients from tainted drugs.

The article, which appeared first in Friday's online edition of the medical journal, comes as the country still reels from a national meningitis outbreak linked to tainted steroids from the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts.

The article, co-authored by Maryland Health Secretary Joshua M. Sharfstein and two other officials, said that a compounding trade group brags on its website that "compounding has experienced a renaissance as modern technology and innovative techniques and research have allowed more pharmacies to customize medications to meet specific needs."

The authors counter that: "The debacle at the New England Compounding Center, however, indicaties that compounding has yet to fully emerge from the Dark Ages."

State epidemiologist Dr. David Blythe and Dr. Lucy Wilson, chief of Maryland's infection prevention and outbreak response program, helped to write the article.

"All compounding pharmacies must take responsibility for the quality of what they produce," they write.

The nationwide menigitis outbreak has sickened 328 people and killed 24 in 18 states. In Maryland, 17 people have been sickened and one has died.

Look for a complete article later today.





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