Questions About Medicare and Compound Drugs as Death Toll for Meningitis Outbreak Reaches 23

Associated Press (10/22/12)
Medicare is coming under fire for its handling of compound drugs like those made by the New England Compounding Center, the Massachusetts-based company at the center of the nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak. Medicare has long said that compounded drugs produced without oversight by the Food and Drug Administration represent safety risks to the patients who take them, but critics say that Medicare has sometimes chosen not to use its legal authority to deny payments for such drugs. That in turn has allowed compounding pharmacies to grow, critics say. A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services has said that Medicare will not pay for drugs that are produced at compounding pharmacies illegally.

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