U.S. Senate Investigating Meningitis Outbreak

Nov 20, 2012

A U.S Senate committee investigating the multi-state fungal meningitis outbreak wants to know how regulators in all 50 states oversee specialty pharmacies like the one that triggered the illness.

Contaminated injections from the New England Compounding Center are blamed for the outbreak that killed 33 Americans and sickened 480, including more than a dozen in Ohio. The victims all received injections of tainted steroids to treat back pain. The facilities, which mix customized medications based on prescriptions, are traditionally overseen by state pharmacy boards. But larger compounders like the NECC have emerged in the last decade, mass-producing thousands of vials of drugs that are shipped nationwide. That trend has prompted calls for oversight by the Food and Drug Administration.