Proposed Pharmacy Rules Allow More Compounding in Tennessee, Not Less

Last year, a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts caused the deaths of 14 Tennesseans due to a meningitis outbreak. Image Courtesy CDC

Last year, a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts caused the deaths of 14 Tennesseans due to a meningitis outbreak. Image Courtesy CDC

There soon may be more pharmacy compounding done in Tennessee rather than less. The legislature’s answer to industry problems is to reduce the number of compounded drugs shipped in from out of state.

The fungal meningitis outbreak that claimed 51 lives – 14 in Tennessee – was traced back to contaminated steroids mixed by a huge compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts. One reason drugs were being ordered from afar is that Tennessee only allows compounders to produce drugs if they are filling a specific person’s prescription.

A bill that has now passed the state Senate and is set for approval in the House would allow Tennessee compounders to mix drugs without a prescription – things like emergency medicines kept on board an ambulance. Baeteena Black heads the Tennessee Pharmacists Association, which helped write the bill.

“They need to have these drugs available to treat their patients in emergency situations. They’re going to be able to get them from a pharmacy here in Tennessee that is very highly regulated,” said Black.

The new regulations also require that outside pharmacies be inspected by their state’s licensing agency before being allowed to ship medicine to Tennessee.

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