BOSTON (AP) — Lawmakers are considering changes in how sterile compounding pharmacies are regulated after a deadly nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak that was linked to a steroid distributed by a Massachusetts firm.
The Legislature's public health committee has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday on several proposals that call for strengthening oversight and licensing of the pharmacies.
Among them is a bill filed by Gov. Deval Patrick that would require compounding pharmacies to obtain a special state license. The bill would also create whistleblower protections for pharmacy workers and enforce new fines and penalties for compounding pharmacies that break the rules.
More than 50 deaths and hundreds of illnesses have been tied to the meningitis outbreak. New England Compounding Center of Framingham shut down operations last fall.