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Compounding facility responsible for patients' blindness

The recent meningitis outbreak has brought attention to the significance of compounding pharmacies. If a compounding pharmacy does not prepare a medicine correctly or in a clean facility, patients who receive the contaminated medication could suffer a permanent or serious injury.

This was the case for 11 of the 12 patients who received injections of bevacizumab (commonly known as Avastin) in their eyes by ophthalmologists. This drug was produced by a compounding facility in Florida. A later inspection of the facility reportedly found a variety of conditions which make the facility an unsafe location to prepare medications.

The patients who received injections of the contaminated drug went to the ophthalmologist expecting the injection would help their eyes. Instead, 11 of the 12 patients who received injections of this drug produced by the Florida compounding facility lost vision in the affected eye. For seven of the patients, the injection led to loss of the entire eye.

As the meningitis outbreak has made clear, compounding facilities are regulated by each state. This method of regulation is questioned by some, as it may result in less consistency amongst compounding facilities. Changing the method of regulation does not appear to be about to change soon, although there are steps that could be taken to improve patient outcomes.

For instance, patients who have already been impacted by contaminated drugs coming out of a compounding facility may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses as well as other difficulties experienced as a result of the compounding facility's failure to produce safe drugs.

Source: MedPage Today, "Compounder tied to tainted eye meds, lost sight," Kristina Fiore, Nov. 15, 2012

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