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Published: Tuesday, 10/30/2012

Ohio to inspect more pharmacies this fall

Meningitis outbreak leads to scrutiny


DAYTON — Ohio is cracking down on pharmacies that custom-mix individualized prescriptions after a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak linked to a Massachusetts compounding company.

Jesse Wimberly, pharmacy inspector for the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy, said there are 17 specially designated compounding pharmacies statewide. They’re usually inspected at least once every three years, though inspectors will go more often if there are complaints or reported violations.

“Now we’re going to every one of these pharmacies that are designated for compounding,” Mr. Wimberly told the Dayton Daily News.

He said the state now requires pharmacies to specify how much of their business is strictly retail sales and how much is mixing custom preparations. They must demonstrate that they meet cleanliness standards and show that their products are being prepared for specific patients — not mixed up in advance and set aside to fill future orders.

Not being able to link prescriptions to specific patients is one of the issues that officials are finding in the investigation of the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., he said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than two dozen people have died and more than 300 have been sickened across the country in the outbreak, which has been linked to steroid shots for back pain.

Eleven people have been sickened in Ohio, but no one has died.

Since news broke of the problems at the Massachusetts pharmacy, Ohio has ordered the closure of a compounding pharmacy in Piqua, north of Dayton. On Oct. 19, the state ordered JAH Pharmacies Inc. to close after issuing 29 citations, most for failure to meet cleanliness standards or for having outdated drug stock.

In Massachusetts, state pharmacy regulators started surprise inspections at compounding pharmacies last week. State officials said over the weekend they had shut down one over sterility.

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