Plenty of Blame to Go Around on Meningitis Outbreak
The death toll from the meningitis outbreak that began when a massachusetts compounding pharmacy shipped contaminated medication is rising. It now stands at 23. And there's lot of finger pointing over the public health catastrophe, with no one taking the blame.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is deflecting criticism for the outbreak. He says the state did everything it was supposed to do.
"We have enforced the existing regulations on the books. The issue is where the gap is in federal regulations. Understand that the regulations the state is responsible for is for a pharmacy. This is for a manufacturer. Manufacturing is in the jurisdiction of the FDA but even that jurisdiction has been clouded recently."
The industry group US Pharmacopeia is placing the blame on Massachusetts agencies for the outbreak, saying if someone had just enforced Massachusetts law, these illnesses could have been prevented.
But US pharmacopeia is facing blame itself. It’s been lobbying against federal oversight for compounding pharmacies.
On the federal level, the FDA is also passing the buck. It was aware of problems at the specialty pharmacy but says it couldn’t have acted earlier because it lacked authority.
Compounding pharmacies fall into a regulatory gray area. Officials say the Framingham facility seems to have fallen through the gap.