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Mass. Rule would Allow Drug Sharing in Crisis

BOSTON (AP) — State public health regulators have approved a new rule allowing hospitals to share compounded medications in the event of future drug shortages.

The emergency regulation passed by the Massachusetts Public Health Council on Wednesday is connected to a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak that’s been linked to a tainted steroid produced by the Framingham-based New England Compounding Center.

The NECC’s sister company, Westborough-based Ameridose, has voluntarily recalled its products and closed through the end of the year for inspection. The closure has prompted concerns about potential drug shortages.

Currently, hospitals that compound drugs can only do so for their own patients. The new regulation would allow those drugs to be shared with other hospitals during a severe shortage. Officials say no such crisis exists at this time.