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How ‘Compounding’ Drugs Work

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Thirty-six people have now died as a result of meningitis linked to contaminated steroid injections made at the New England Compounding Center in Framingham.

In all, 510 people in 19 states have gotten sick.

The idea of compounding is to make from scratch a drug that isn’t available elsewhere. The drug might have been discontinued by a manufacturer, might need to be in a different strength or form.

“What we’ll do here is make one prescription for an individual in Western Mass. that a doctor’s written, that’s not commercially available, and then they come pick it up,” said Skip Matthews, President of Louis & Clark Drug Stores.

He says this is far different than what the New England Compounding Center.

“They were clearly almost acting like a manufacturer, making large quantities sending them all over the country,” said Matthews.

Matthews said he wants people to be confident in his compounding. For that reason, the lab is open to the public’s view.

“Someone can look through the window and see what’s happening,” he said. “This other instance we talked about was a closed door, was more of a plant if you will. And people that were getting it were from Tennessee, California. So, they didn’t have assurance. Where is this coming from?”

Matthews said his drug stores don’t send any compounded drugs out of the state. They only deal with local doctors and their patients.

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