Potential Senate Bill Puts Compounding Pharmacies At Risk - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Potential Senate Bill Puts Compounding Pharmacies At Risk

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WMDT 47 NEWS - Compounding pharmacies across the country are now under intense scrutiny, after health investigators linked the 2012 meningitis outbreak to a center in Massachusetts, New England.

These pharmacies make medicines from scratch, after a physician determines that their patient needs custom made drugs that they cannot purchase commercially. However, all of this is now at risk. Legislators want to make sure the situation in New England does not happen again, and in order to do this, they are proposing a Pharmaceutical Quality, Security, and Accountability Act, which among many regulations, would essentially strip compounding companies of their pharmaceutical license.

"What this means is, patients won't have access to medication that's custom made to them," says Jeff Sherr, a registered pharmacist and president of Apple Discount Drugs in Fruitland, Maryland. "This affects everyone from children, to pets, to the elderly."

Pharmacists feel that the situation in New England is giving compounding pharmacies a bad name, when the outbreak was a result of illegal manufacturing.

"It's more of a criminal act than anything else," says Robert Horsey.

Apple Discount Drugs say they get about 150 people each week that need these special prescriptions that they cannot get commercially. They worry that with more regulations, on top of already strict regulations, it will create a time lag in their work, which they cannot afford.

"A lot of the stuff we do, we try to do as soon as possible for people, and some stuff cannot wait," says Horsey. "You're talking about things like seizures, whether it be in animals or infants, and pain medications for a Hospus patient who is actively dying of a terminal illness."

Apple Discount Drugs, among many facilities, is reaching out to legislators to make sure they understand the risk before they vote. When the pharmacy heard that Representative Andy Harris was coming to town, they asked him to come visit the store.

"I think it's our job, as the community, to reach out and let legislators know what is going on," says Sherr. "I think many times our legislators will vote on things and they really don't have a true handle on what it's all about."

 Despite the discussion and push from many legislators, Representative Harris admits he is not sure if this bill will actually make it to congress this fall. However, he thinks it is important to pay particular attention to make sure these pharmacies are not driven out of business.

"There are small businesses that really could be very badly affected by increased government regulation. You shouldn't pass nationwide legislation that's very comprehensive based on one case of one bad apple."

 

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