Calls for more oversight after tainted drug outbreak in US
CHICAGO (AFP) - A deadly meningitis outbreak in the United States blamed on a tainted drug has triggered outrage and calls for tighter regulation of the loosely controlled pharmaceutical compounding industry.
At least a dozen people have died and the number of fungal meningitis cases rose to 138 Wednesday after a contaminated drug was shipped to clinics and hospitals in 23 states.
Investigators say as many as 13,000 people may have received contaminated doses of the steroid, which is injected into the spine to treat back pain.
Critics said drug manufacturers have found a way to sidestep costly and strict oversight by classifying themselves as pharmacies, which are given freer rein to mix drug compounds for patients.