Compounded Drugs, Twice the Headache for Consumers - Nov 26, 2012

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Written by Administrator
Monday, 26 November 2012 00:00

First we had bonded leather. Then meat glue. And now we have drug compounding. What do all three of these have in common? First, they are testimony to man's inventiveness when it comes to expanding profit margins, and, secondly, they are all misleading to consumers: Bonded leather isn't really leather. Pseudo-steaks made out of meat glue and meat scraps aren't really steaks (now there's a surprise). And compounded drugs...well, they're hard to pin down. Technically, they are a re-mix of previously manufactured drugs, and herein lies the problem. Compounding pharmaceutical companies claim because they are not technically drug manufacturers, they require less stringent regulations.

It may be a technicality, but it's a critical one that needs immediate attention because this fall 15 people died from tainted steroid injections that were produced by the New England Compounding Center, a drug compounding company based out of Framingham, Mass. Inadequate monitoring of the facility and its products has been blamed.

Where does that leave people like you and me? Feeling very worried, indeed. It's one thing to buy a bonded leather sofa, thinking it's leather when it's not. It's altogether different buying prescription drugs that you believe were manufactured according to strict FDA regulations, only to find out they weren't.

After the tained steroid injections brought the problem to light, the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists acknowledged that the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy "failed to execute its responsibilities both to its citizens as well as patients in other states."

Nevertheless, the academy says it opposes additional regulations on the industry.

The FDA, on the other hand, believes that stricter regulations are necessary if it is going to be effective in protecting the public and monitoring the production of these pharmaceuticals.

It sounds like another head-butting session up on Capitol Hill.

In the meantime, most of us are going to feel very uncomfortable every time we are prescribed a new drug because we just don't know what is going on in the pharmaceutical industry. Our first thought will always be, is this medicine safe? If the answer is No--eeven once--we should be asking for stronger guarantees.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 January 2013 13:59 )