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“Government reaction to 45 deaths and nearly 700 being sickened from contaminated injectable medications from Framingham’s New England Compounding Center has been as sadly predictable as the original event was tragic. With the horse long gone from the barn, public officials are pursuing new remedies. But the outbreak was a result of state and federal governments’ failure to enforce existing laws and regulations.

The tragedy has resulted in heightened scrutiny for compounding pharmacies and calls, as voiced by legislation filed in November by U.S. Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, to dramatically expand federal oversight of compounders.

Compounding pharmacies work directly with prescribers to create customized medications for patients whose needs can’t be met by off-the-shelf medicines.

The problem is that NECC apparently wasn’t acting as a compounder last fall when its products killed or harmed people in 20 states, and state and federal agencies had reason to know the company was an accident waiting to happen.

Both state and federal authorities can inspect compounding pharmacies at any time and pull the pharmacies’ licenses if they deem it necessary.”

Read more of this op ed piece printed in today’s Worcester Telegram.
Charles Chieppo is the principal of Chieppo Strategies LLC, a public policy writing and advocacy firm.