Remember the panic about compounding pharmacies? These are state-licensed retail businesses that mix and sell medications, but without the federal safety approval required for mass-produced drugs. No? How about the scandal last year involving a Massachusetts pharmacy whose tainted back-pain steroids led to hundreds of serious infections and more than 60 deaths, many related to meningitis?Oh, yes, that you recall. Scary stuff.
Now that you’re focused, here’s the news: Congress has finally moved to give the Food and Drug Administration greater authority over compounding pharmacies. This week, negotiators from the House and Senate came up with a compromise bill designed to prevent another fiasco like last fall’s misadventure with the since-closed New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass.