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Meningitis Outbreak Toll Now 33 Dead, 480 Sickened, CDC Says
Date:11/18/2012

By Steven Reinberg and Margaret Steele
HealthDay Reporters

FRIDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The ongoing meningitis outbreak tied to tainted steroid injections has now reached 480 cases, and another person has died, bringing the total fatalities to 33, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday.

The latest death from a rare, fungal form of meningitis occurred in Indiana, the agency said.

The political and legal fallout from the steroid-linked outbreak also continues to mount. On Thursday, the head of the lobby that represents compounding pharmacies told a U.S. Senate committee that tighter federal regulations were not needed to oversee his industry, despite the rising death toll from the outbreak that's been linked to products from these types of pharmacies.

According to the Associated Press, the head of the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists testified that existing regulations, which primarily put oversight responsibility on individual states, are enough to monitor compounding pharmacies.

Compounding pharmacies combine, mix or alter ingredients to create drugs to meet the specific needs of individual patients. Such custom-made drugs may include a smaller dose, for example, or the removal of an ingredient that might trigger an allergy in a patient, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

These specialty pharmacies aren't subject to the same FDA oversight as regular drug manufacturers. So, some members of Congress are calling for greater FDA regulation of these businesses.

But David Miller, chief executive officer of the compounding pharmacies' lobbyist group, told the senators that current state laws, if enforced, would have prevented the meningitis outbreak. And the Massachusetts company in question, the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, was shipping medication without first receiving prescriptions from doctors, a viola
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Meningitis Outbreak Toll Now 33 Dead, 480 Sickened, CDC Says
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