Senate OKs Pharmacy Rules After Meningitis Deaths

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) State oversight of compounding pharmacies would increase under legislation that unanimously passed the Michigan Senate on Tuesday following a fatal 2012 meningitis outbreak. The two Senate bills would raise licensing, record-keeping and inspection standards for pharmacies and would designate compounding pharmacy violations as felonies.

The legislation responds to a 2012 meningitis outbreak linked to the New England Compounding Center that sickened about 750 people in 20 states and caused 64 deaths, including 22 deaths in Michigan patients and more than 260 reported cases of illness.

The Framingham, Massachusetts-based company allegedly distributed tainted steroid injections to patients. The bills would require pharmacies, manufacturers and distributors to designate a pharmacist in charge.

Certain applicants would need to undergo criminal history checks, and the state would have greater power to suspend licenses. The bills now go to the House.