Hospital use of compounding pharmacies under fire

Hospitals may start to rethink their use of compounding pharmacies as the nationwide meningitis outbreak grows, according to the Minnesota Public Radio.

The practice faces increased scrutiny after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned patients about potentially contaminated steroids produced at a pharmaceutical compounding center in Massachusetts. The drugs have been linked to meningitis infections in more than 200 people and 15 deaths, MPR noted.

The healthcare industry has seen compounding pharmacies gain popularity, thanks, in part, to more out-of-hospital surgical care and one of the worst drug shortages in American history, The Washington Post reported.

Minneapolis-based Fairview Health Services gets up to 20,000 doses a month of the most popular sterile drug from Fairview Compounding Pharmacy, according to MPR. Meanwhile, Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Hospital uses three compounding pharmacies--usually  for drugs in short supply, safer drug formulation of a particular medicine or longer "beyond-use dates," noted the Post.

But despite policies and procedures to ensure the sterility of drugs, compounding pharmacies have been linked to patient safety incidents in the past few years, MPR noted. Dozens of patients contracted infections after using an eye product made by a Florida compounding pharmacy, while nine hospitals patients died after receiving a contaminated intravenous nutrition product produced by an Alabama compounding pharmacy.

For more:
- here's the MPR piece
- read the Post article