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Reports: Meningitis outbreak prompts calls for inquiry into compounding pharmacies


NEW YORK — Members of Congress are calling for an inquiry into compounding pharmacies amid a meningitis outbreak that has infected 119 people and killed 11, according to published reports.

The New York Times reported that Democratic and Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees the Food and Drug Administration, had called for an inquiry into laws and regulations governing compounding pharmacies. The committee, of which Republican Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan is chair, includes Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., Diana DeGette, D-Colo. and Frank Pallone, D-N.J. The Times reported that Upton supported opening an inquiry, along with three other Republican members of the committee.

According to the Times, the infections are linked to injectable methylprednisolone acetate, a compounded epidural steroid drug produced at the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass. Health officials originally thought the infections stemmed from Aspergillus fungus that had contaminated the drug, but officials in Tennessee determined that it was another, much rarer fungus called Exserohilum.

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