Bill would tighten oversight of compounding pharmacies

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A bill proposed in the House of Representatives would increase oversight of compounding pharmacies, which long-term care operators and other healthcare stakeholders called for after last year's deadly outbreak of meningitis was traced to a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts. 

The Compounding Clarity Act, put forward Thursday by Reps. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Gene Green (D-TX) and Diana DeGette (D-CO), would impose federal oversight over some compounding pharmacies, which create customized medications when off-the-shelf drugs are not an option.

The bill would not change the status quo for most compounding pharmacies, which are regulated at the state level. However, if more than 5% of a pharmacy's business involves providing compounded medications for use in a facility such as a hospital, and the pharmacy ships the medication across state lines, it would be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

The bill won approval from the National Community Pharmacists Association. It would not unduly burden independent community pharmacists but would help prevent another situation similar to the meningitis outbreak, according to association CEO B. Douglas Hoey, R.Ph., M.B.A.

The NCPA also endorsed a recent bill related to how long-term care pharmacies are paid.