Tighter Pharmacy Rules Planned After Mich. Deaths

LANSING (WWJ/AP) – New legislation is being proposed to more closely regulate 470 compounding pharmacies in Michigan after a deadly outbreak of meningitis a year ago.

The infection of 264 Michigan residents, 17 who died, is blamed on contaminated steroids produced by a company in Massachusetts.

But Michigan’s attorney general, a top licensing official, and a state senator say oversight of Michigan pharmacies should be strengthened to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

A measure announced Thursday would require pharmacies to undergo regular inspections and criminal background checks. They also would have to maintain accurate records and appoint a “pharmacist in charge” to ensure laws and regulations are followed.

WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick says investigators will have their work cut out for them.

“They simply don’t have enough inspectors to go everywhere, but they will monitor what they’re doing, beef up the standards and penalties, and try to prevent the deaths that occurred in Michigan from ever happening again,” Skubick said.

Separately, a multi-county grand jury investigation of the outbreak has been launched at the request of Attorney General Bill Schuette.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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