Commentary on CNN.com: Deadly Meningitis Outbreak was Completely Avoidable

The ever-expanding outbreak of life-threatening fungal meningitis in back pain patients linked to steroid injections prepared by a compounding pharmacy, which so far has sickened at least 214 people and killed 15 in 15 states, is a public health catastrophe. What is particularly tragic for those who have been sickened or killed by the tainted drug and for their loved ones is that this situation was completely avoidable.

Since federal laws were enacted in 1938 and 1962 giving the Food and Drug Administration the authority to ensure that all brand name and generic drugs were both safe and effective, compounding pharmacies have traditionally filled a very narrow health care niche in which they prepared, in response to physicians’ prescriptions, individually tailored preparations of drugs for patients having unique medical needs that could not be met by a commercially available standard drug manufactured by a pharmaceutical company.

To read the complete commentary, go to http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/16/opinion/carome-meningitis.