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Compounded drugs could put your health at risk

Do you remember the fungal meningitis outbreak of 2012? If not, count yourself lucky: A total of 64 people died, 753 were sickened and thousands more had to undergo painful, invasive testing procedures as a result of lax safety protocols by the New England Compounding Center (NECC).

The horrid, nonsterile environment at the NECC lab shocked a significant number of people. It also put a spotlight on the problems that can come from using a compounding pharmacy to supply drugs to physicians’ offices and their patients.

What’s the purpose of compounding pharmacies?

Sometimes, patients simply cannot use a drug in its normally available forms. For example, maybe a certain pill is made with cornstarch as a binder. If a patient has a corn allergy, a compounding pharmacy can make their pills with another ingredient.

While compounding pharmacies absolutely have their place in modern medical care, they’re also very loosely regulated. Compounded drugs are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so they do not have the same quality controls. Nor are these drugs verified for their quality, ingredients, effectiveness or safety.

In addition (as in the NECC case), some doctors’ offices will use compounded medications for in-office procedures simply because they’re cheaper — but that low price may also indicate lower quality and lax safety protocols.

What can you do if you’ve been injured by a bad drug?

Both physicians and compounding pharmacies like to assert that their drugs are perfectly safe — but that’s not always accurate. If you’ve been injured by a defective drug or your loved one is killed, you owe it to yourself to explore all your legal options for compensation.

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