House OKs bill for improving drug safety
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House easily approved bipartisan legislation Saturday aimed at improving the safety of drugs produced by compounding pharmacies that mix customized pharmaceuticals.
The measure, approved on a voice vote, comes almost a year after a meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people and sickened hundreds more was traced to a compounding company in Framingham, Mass. Inspectors later found unsanitary conditions at the New England Compounding Center, which has since closed.
The measure, aimed at improving how drugs are tracked from production until they are purchased at a drug store, would clarify what sponsors said was confusion over the Food and Drug Administration’s authority over compounded drugs. It would also require the agency to coordinate its oversight of compounded-drug safety with states.
Compounders could voluntarily register as outsourcing facilities, which would bring them under FDA authority. Registering will let the agency identify who these companies are and what they produce, and allow the FDA to receive reports about any problems.
Companies that remain traditional pharmacies would continue to be overseen mostly by state pharmacy boards.
Blackout preceded firefighter deaths
PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — Shortly before 19 elite firefighters perished in a raging Arizona wildfire, commanders thought the crew was in a safe place. No one had heard from the Granite Mountain Hotshots for 33 minutes. The crew didn’t contact commanders, and commanders didn’t radio them.
Then it was too late.
A three-month investigation into the June 30 deaths released Saturday did not determine if the tragedy was avoidable, while outlining a series of missteps by the crew and commanders and revealing the more than half-hour of radio silence that occurred just before the firefighters were overwhelmed by flames.
It’s not certain why the crew left what was believed to be a safe spot on a ridge that the fire had previously burned and, apparently seeking another safe location, unknowingly walked to their deaths in a basin thick with dry brush. At the time they died, an airtanker was circling overhead, confused about their location.