Senate hearings into the deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis focused heavily on Tennessee, where the first cases were diagnosed and the most deaths have occurred. The questioning shed new light on how an outpatient clinic at St. Thomas Hospital wound up using hundreds of vials of tainted steroids.
An industry trade group was quick to say the Massachusetts compounding pharmacy at fault broke the law, manufacturing drugs instead of just filling prescriptions. Pharmacist David Miller then turned the mirror on physicians, who could have ordered an FDA-approved version of the steroids instead.
“Why did a hospital in Tennessee buy medicine from a pharmacy outside of Boston?”
Many doctors didn’t know they were working with a compounded drug, said Marion Kainer, Tennessee’s top health official on infectious diseases.
“They actually thought that they were purchasing things from a manufacturer.”
Kainer, who was asked to testify in Washington, said health officials should use the fungal meningitis outbreak to educate physicians on the difference.