Obama signs bill for more scrutiny for drug mixers

by The Associated Press
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President Barack Obama signs a bill in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

President Barack Obama signs a bill in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Compounding pharmacies that custom mix medications in bulk could come under more federal oversight under a bill that’s been signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Wednesday’s signing comes a year after a meningitis outbreak from contaminated steroid pain injections killed 64 people and sickened more than 750.

The sickness was eventually traced to a now-closed pharmacy in Framingham, Mass., the New England Compounding Center, where inspectors found unsterile conditions.

Large-volume compounders had not been required to register with the Food and Drug Administration, as manufacturers of prescription drugs must do. Under the new law, pharmacies can voluntarily register with the FDA and submit to federal inspections.

Proponents of the law say the voluntary approach can succeed if doctors and hospitals choose only to do business with FDA-registered pharmacies.

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