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Compounding drug companies rarely punished

It is not unusual to hear of a doctor or hospital being sued over medication errors, but compounding pharmacies rarely receive tough sanctions. In many cases, these pharmacies are not penalized at all for their mistakes, negligence or lack of attention that leads to terrible consequences for patients.

Compounding pharmacies are companies that mix formulations for specialized drugs. They use the raw ingredients to craft mixtures that are used in the treatment of many diseases. There have been at least 200 events concerning 71 discrete products noted by the FDA since 1990 that were the direct result of errors or negligence by compound pharmacies. In many cases, despite the government's knowledge of these problems, the companies were shut down by lawsuits that resulted in large judgments against the companies rather than government intervention.

Three personal injury suits have already been filed against the company suspected of causing the latest meningitis outbreak in at least 16 states that affected more than 300 people. The outbreak was traced to a fungal contamination of injections that were produced by the company. Even though the Massachusetts panel that investigates these incidents found this evidence, it has no power to issue a fine or hold the company accountable. Even the FDA finds it difficult to regulate the compounding pharmacy industry.

An individual who has suffered injuries from medications produced by a compound pharmacy or any other source may have a claim against the company that produced the drug. A medical malpractice attorney can discuss the case with the individual, determine the true cause of the injury and explain the victim's rights to collect damages.

Source: USA Today, "Harsh punishments rare for drug compounding mistakes," Peter Eisler, Donna Leinwand and Kaitlyn Ridel, Nov. 1, 2012

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