The Post also reported that shoddy equipment and unsanitary conditions at some of these firms had caused patient illnesses and deaths long before an October meningitis outbreak that was linked to tainted steroids made at a Massachusetts-based compounding pharmacy. Congress is investigating compounding pharmacies after steroid shots made at the New England Compounding Center were linked to the outbreak, which killed 47 people and sickened another 660.
“We want to enable and clarify for the FDA that those businesses that are involved in the manufacturing of compounded drugs, regardless of size, be regulated like drug manufacturers,” said David G. Miller, the academy’s executive vice president.
Miller and his 2,700-member group have traditionally argued that all pharmacies should fall under the purview of state pharmacy boards, not the FDA, and fought efforts in 2007 to shift primary oversight from the states to the federal government.
On Thursday, Miller said he now wants to see FDA registration for what he describes as compounding manufacturers and supports giving the agency the power to enforce safety standards for these firms.
“They’re singing a different tune,” said a congressional staffer who is knowledgeable about Capitol Hill discussions concerning the FDA’s role in regulating compounders.
Officials who represent state regulators say the change reflects a broader shift in momentum. There is now agreement within the industry that additional oversight is needed for pharmacies that go beyond the traditional role of filling prescriptions for individual patients.
“So what you’re seeing now is people jumping on the bandwagon,” said Carmen Catizone, executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, which represents the state pharmacy regulators.
Industry trade groups want to help define the new category that would be subject to FDA regulation so they have a say over how it would affect their members, Catizone said.
David Ball, an academy spokesman, said the shift in the organization’s position has not been previously disclosed and has been shaped by discussions over the past few months that made it “increasingly clear” that “there is an evolving marketplace of non-traditional manufacturing.”
FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg told Congress three months ago that some “non-traditional” compounders should be placed into a special category for stepped-up enforcement, but she said oversight could be carried out by either her agency or state pharmacy boards.