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New Bills Could Limit Access to Natural, Compounded Drugs 10/16/12 via ANH

Discussion in 'Action Alerts and Advocacy' started by *GG*, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. *GG*

    *GG* senior member

    Concord, NH
    From a natural medicine perspective, one also has to ask: why are doctors injecting powerful steroids into the backs of elderly people? Ostensibly for pain relief. But is this a safe or effective or lasting approach to pain relief? One thing we know for sure is that such powerful steroids are very hard on the bones, so is it sensible to inject something like this right into the spine? No one in the mainstream media to our knowledge is asking these questions—or is likely to.

    Reps. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT) and Edward Markey (D-MA) have both announced they will introduce bills focusing on compounding pharmacies. We have also learned that Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) plans to propose giving the US Food and Drug Administration more authority—despite the fact that FDA already has more than enough authority to have prevented this tragedy. In fact, FDA sent the NECC a warning letter in 2006“detailing significant violations witnessed” by investigators the previous year. The agency identified a problem at the facility but seems not to have followed up.

    So what is the real purpose of these new bills from Reps. DeLauro and Markey and Sen. Blumenthal?

    Some of the proposals for the bills being circulated would effectively
    outlaw allcompounded drugs by classifying them as “new” drugs. In current law there is something of a blurry line on when a compounded drug becomes an entirely new one and therefore subject to the FDA drug approval process. In the past, FDA has tried to argue that anychanges to the approved drugs used in the compounding formula—even changing the delivery method from oral to intravenous, for example—would make the compounded drug a new drug and therefore subject to the drug approval process.

    Compounding pharmacists and doctors have argued that this is fully within the practice of medicine, which is regulated at the state level. The courts have agreed that it’s important for doctors to be able to prescribe individually tailored drug formulas for patients if what is needed is not commercially available.

    If new legislation were to give FDA explicit authority to require compounded drugs to pass through FDA’s outrageously expensive drug approval process, it would dramatically limit the medications that practitioners could prescribe and patients could take. Many compounding pharmacies would be forced out of business.

    Big Pharma is already using the NECC problem as an opportunity to ramp up attacks on compounded pharmacists. They want to eliminate the competition that compounding pharmacies present. Moreover, they’re suddenly questioning whether bioidentical hormones (which are made by compounded pharmacies) are safe in light of the scandal—they’re trying to scare practitioners with malpractice threats. Bioidentical hormones like estriolhave long been under attack by the FDA and drug companies, essentially working together. Compounding pharmacies may also offer complete, time-release, desiccated thyroid compounds, which can be difficult to find elsewhere. Most thyroid medications made by drug companies are not complete, and some of these important thyroid medications are never available in time-release versions.

    ANH-USA will be working on Capitol Hill to preempt any bad legislative language, and ensure that any bill that is introduced will not threaten consumer access to compounded drugs. Although Big Pharma has enormous clout on the Hill, a few compounders—generally the ones who mass produce drugs—are big donors too (such as the California compounding company owner who donated over $1 million to a super PAC supporting President Obama). So it is difficult to predict how the money politics will play out.

    Regardless of who is at fault in the tragic NECC meningitis case, this isolated incident—one where the FDA has full authority to act but failed to do so—should not be used to justify a whole new regulatory paradigm that will benefit the pharmaceutical industry alone while reducing access to important medications for the rest of us—including special-needs populations such as the autistic and those sensitive to particular ingredients or full potency drugs.
    taniaaust1 likes this.
  2. GhostGum

    GhostGum Senior Member

    Vic, AU
    I remember when this story came out and they interviewed someone at the FDA who's only comment was something about how this was an example of compounding manufactures being unreliable, rather than actually commenting on the specific issue itself relating to this one company.

    It was like here we go, another excuse to try and come down hard on open market competition so the companies who have the FDA in their pockets can try to lock down the market some more.

    As this article clearly points out if the FDA actually did their job properly which was to keep a close eye on the market, random testing of products, going after and prosecute those who are actually doing the wrong thing it could be a much safer industry. Instead they spend their time looking for excuses to try and completely shut down competing markets to open the way for further monopolization.
    *GG* likes this.

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