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Support grows for letting FDA police drug compounding firms

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Congress,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,FDA,Pharmaceutical Industry

With Congress poised to give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded powers over drugs and drugmakers like the one linked to a deadly outbreak of meningitis last year, the public --- even Republicans --- are clamoring for new regulations.

A new poll from a pro-regulation group found that 73 percent of Republicans, 83 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of independents want compounding pharmacies to be regulated by the FDA, which they aren’t today.

Overall, the poll from the Working Group on Pharmaceutical Safety found that 87 percent want their doctor to tell them when drugs prescribed are non-FDA approved, and 77 percent are concerned that the FDA isn't doing its job.

The congressional effort comes a year after drugs linked to a specialty Massachusetts drug compounder, New England Compounding Center (NECC), caused a deadly meningitis outbreak. Sixty-four people died.

Tommy Thompson, a former secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, heads the Working Group and said the poll indicates the support Congress has for expanding FDA’s regulatory authority over the companies.

“The NECC tragedy and recent troubling findings following inspections of compounding pharmacies underscore the need for the strongest possible legislation that meets the simple and straightforward expectations of voters,” said Thompson.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.