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Massachusetts seeks compliance statements from pharmacies

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

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

The actions follow concerns that NECC and other compoundingpharmacies, which produce custom-made versions of medicationsfor doctors, hospitals and clinics, have violated laws thatallow them to alter drugs based on the needs of individualpatients rather than produce large batches of medication forsale.

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

(Reporting by Sharon Begley; Editing by Gary Hill)

((sharon.begley@thomsonreuters.com))

Keywords: USA HEALTH/MENINGITIS MASSCHUSETTS