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Massachusetts seeks compliance statements from pharmacies

Oct 10 (Reuters) - After a nationwide meningitis outbreak was tied to drugs shipped from a plant in Massachusetts, the state is requiring all pharmacy compounders to sign a statement saying they are complying with regulations on their work, officials said on Wednesday.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health also confirmed that compounder Ameridose LLC has agreed to close temporarily. Ameridose shares ownership with the New England Compounding Center that shipped thousands of vials of steroid drugs linked to the meningitis outbreak.

The actions follow concerns that NECC and other compounding pharmacies, which produce custom-made versions of medications for doctors, hospitals and clinics, have violated laws that allow them to alter drugs based on the needs of individual patients rather than produce large batches of medication for sale.

NECC shipped more than 17,000 vials of the steroid methylprednisolone acetate to healthcare facilities in a number of states. The medication, used mostly for back pain, has infected 137 people across 10 states, killing 12, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Reporting by Sharon Begley; Editing by Gary Hill)

((sharon.begley@thomsonreuters.com))

Keywords: USA HEALTH/MENINGITIS MASSCHUSETTS