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    Former HHS Secretary urging more FDA oversight of compounding pharmacies

    Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson is leading a group that wants greater FDA oversight of compounding pharmacies, including restrictions on the drugs they can produce.

    The group called for increased FDA oversight of compounding pharmacies follows last year’s meningitis outbreak linked to the New England Compounding Center that killed dozens of people, and a more recent problem linked to a Tennessee compounding pharmacy.

    Thompson, former governor of Wisconsin, last week announced the launch of The Working Group on Pharmaceutical Safety, which plans to work with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee. That committee is considering legislation to strengthen FDA’s authority over compounding pharmacies, according to the website The Hill.com.

    “We’re seeing too many companies mass manufacturing and distributing medications all over the country outside of FDA oversight,” said Thompson, who chairs the specialty pharmaceutical company TherapeuticsMD. “We formed this group to help ensure the voices of those who support strengthening current oversight are heard.”

    Specifically, Thompson’s group is advocating restrictions on drugs made without FDA supervision that don’t meet federal standards, a ban on the compounding of drugs that are copies of medications already available; and a requirement that patients be told when they receive compounded drugs that are exempt from FDA oversight.

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