NC Board of Pharmacy to create special committee to study compounding pharmacies

by: Allison Latos Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

At Stanley Apothecary in southeast Charlotte, pharmacists mix medicine for specific patients.

But since steroid shots from a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy sparked a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 23 people, their work is under the microscope of concerned customers and state officials.

The North Carolina Board of Pharmacy is creating a special committee to study compounding pharmacies and whether more regulations or inspections are needed.

Right now, investigators don't have to visit pharmacies every year.

"Our goal is to get to every pharmacy in the state at least every two to three years," said state director Jay Campbell.

After Eyewitness News told pharmacist Doug Yoch about the panel, he requested to be a part of it and showed Eyewitness News how Stanley Apothecary tests medication safety.

Pharmacists put medicine in an autoclave, which uses heat, pressure and steam to sterilize it.

They also send medicine to an independent lab for testing and receive certificates that prove it's sterile

Yoch said he explained those processes to several worried patients and he fielded questions from facilities that purchased medicine from the Massachusetts pharmacy, including Carolinas Medical Center-University.

Eyewitness News checked a list released by the Food and Drug Administration. CMC-University is one of six customers in Charlotte to purchase from the New England Compounding Center.

State officials said if more rules are recommended, they may face more challenges of finding money and manpower.

"In many states, boards of pharmacy really struggle with their resources to go out and enforce their laws," said Campbell.

The state hopes to start the study next month.