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Does California Need Stronger Drug Laws?

In the wake of the growing number of meningitis infections linked to a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy, many are questioning what can be done to prevent a similar outbreak. Although no one in California has developed the fungal disease, four California clinics received shipments of the contaminated steroid drug.

As San Diego injury lawyers, we were pleased to learn that California regulators are already looking at ways to increase oversight of drugs shipped from other states. Proposals on the table are said to include strict licensing requirements for out-of-state compounding pharmacies that ship to California.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the California Board of Pharmacy will consider new legislation as early as this week. Virginia Herold, executive officer of board, said the regulations could require, among other things, that accrediting agencies use California inspection standards for any out-of-state manufacturers who ship to California.

“If we’re going to accept their accreditation it should be to our standards,” she said.

Compounding pharmacies make customized medications for specific patients in doses or forms not otherwise available. For instance, they can add flavors for children or remove certain agreements for patients with allergies. However, the industry has grown in recent years with many compounding pharmacies producing large shipments of drugs that are shipped across the country.

Unfortunately, regulatory oversight has not increased accordingly. Unlike major drug companies, compounding pharmacies are licensed by states. The California Board of Pharmacy currently licenses 463 non-resident sterile compounding pharmacies to ship products to California. The New England Compounding Center, which made the tainted drugs, was licensed until the state enacted a ban on future shipments.