As I sit down to write this, you basically can’t turn on the news without hearing about the meningitis outbreak related to the contaminated steroid injections. This is, of course, very frightening. 

What gets me is that most of the “talk” is around the serious concerns about the scope of the practice of pharmacy compounding … and the current patchwork of federal and state laws and systems that oversee this practice. Huh?

What about, “How in blazes did fungi responsible for the meningitis (exserohilum) get in there in the first place?”

This is something I clearly don’t understand. Aren’t drugs developed or “compounded” in sterile environments? Shouldn’t that be looked at? How are these facilities, regardless of FDA regulations or not, inspected. (Apparently, compound pharmacies are not considered manufacturers of drugs and therefore are not held to the same FDA regulations as pharmaceutical manufacturers.)

I mean, GROSS.  What conditions are any compounding pharmacy inspected under? Who inspects them? I mean, even your favorite strip mall takeout food place gets inspected by the health department so that you don’t get ptomaine poisoning!

Or better yet, what if compounding pharmacies were given even a quarter of the scrutiny of long-term care inspections?  After all, LTC is, I believe, the second highest regulatory controlled environment next to the nuclear industry. If that were done, I don’t believe there would be a fungus among us! 

We’d NEVER get away with that is a nursing home!  And look at all the bad PR WE get! 

These are the questions I wish they were bringing up on the news. Not, “What’s the difference between compounding and manufacturing?” for goodness sakes. 

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, a 2012 APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real life long-term care nurse who is also the director of clinical affairs for the American Medical Directors Association. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. She has not starred in her own national television series — yet.