Posted by Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner
In a move prompted by pressure from Congress and health-care watchdogs, the FDA launched a series of aggressive surprise inspections of large compounding pharmacies last week. Among their findings so far: contaminated drugs, medications without expiration dates, and drug containers “not clean and sterilized.” The inspections of about 30 facilities are expected to continue for the next two months and could result in fines and possible suspensions of their licenses. This new program of aggressive inspections is aimed at regulating the multibillion-dollar industry that custom mixes medications for individual patients, hospitals and clinics. As I have posted previously, the compounding pharmacy industry has fallen between the regulatory cracks.
According to Howard Sklamberg, director of compliance for the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, inspectors do not know exactly what they may find during these inspections, since compounding pharmacies currently do not have to register with the FDA, nor tell them what medications they produce. “A lot of these firms are behaving like manufacturers and producing like manufacturers, yet they are trying to operate under the law as if they were a small pharmacy.” According to the Washington Post’s investigative series, “The FDA is seeking authority from Congress to require registration, which would allow the agency to demand that firms release detailed information about operations and give it greater authority to require that safety problems be fixed.”
Patient safety should be the ultimate goal for compounding pharmacies instead of making as much profit as possible and resisting oversight by the FDA or other regulatory agencies. Profit should never be put ahead of patient safety.
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About the author:
Mr. Zambri is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney and Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association has recently named him the ” 2011 Trial Lawyer of the Year“. He has also been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a “Big Gun” and among the “top 1%” of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also acknowledged him as “one of Washington’s best–most honest and effective lawyers” who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims. Mr. Zambri was recently (2013 edition) acknowledged as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” by Best Lawyers in both medical malpractice and personal injury law, and has also been repeatedly named a “Super Lawyer” by Law and Politics magazine (2013)–a national publication that honors the top lawyers in the country.
Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning defective drugs, medication errors, medical malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.
If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at [email protected] You may also reach him at 202-822-1899.