Drugmakers need FDA oversight



(Anderson) Herald Bulletin

Americans are right to worry, short of panic, when there’s an outbreak of an illness related to a product controlled by the Food and Drug Administration.

Despite ensuing warnings from health and government officials about a tainted product source, consumers feel compelled to ask what could have happened that leads to infections — when indeed they rely on government-imposed safeguards.

Such is the case with the meningitis outbreak tied to the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass. A steroid made by the pharmacy has been linked to the national outbreak that killed 15 as of last Monday. More than 200 people have reported cases of fungal meningitis.

While most of America’s focus is on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the agency monitoring the number of illnesses and death — perhaps it’s time to check on the FDA. For years, the FDA has raised questions about the process, known as compounding, used by the Massachusetts firm and others.

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