BOSTON — Massachusetts officials have ordered 11 compounding pharmacies to completely or partially shut down their operations after a series of recent and unannounced state inspections.
The inspections were conducted over the past several months at 40 sterile compounding pharmacies across the state.
Besides the 11 cease and desist orders, public health inspectors cited another 21 pharmacies for minor deficiencies that have since been corrected or are currently being addressed.
The inspections were prompted by a deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis caused by contaminated drugs linked to the now-closed New England Compounding Center.
Interim Public Health Commissioner Lauren Smith says the violations vary in scope.
“There weren’t any that reached the scale of utter and complete disregard for appropriate and accepted practices in the way there was for NECC,” Smith said. (For our complete interview with Smith, see audio player below.)
Smith also says that so far there’s no indication that the other shut-down pharmacies posed any health risk.
NECC produced a contaminated steroid blamed for an outbreak that has killed 45 people and sickened more than 600 nationwide.
Pharmacies that have been shut down must submit a plan and take corrective actions before they can begin producing drugs again.
With reporting by the Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom.
Interim Public Health Commissioner, Dr. Lauren Smith, joined WBUR’s Morning Edition for more on the new action against compounding pharmacies by the state: