Fatal Drug Compounder Case Settled
The Texas Attorney General has settled a long-running legal case with the compounding pharmacy company responsible for the deaths of three people in Oregon and Washington.
In 2007, two Portland-area residents and a Yakima County, Wash. woman died after receiving injections of gout medication that was mixed to be about seven times too strong by a Texas-based compounding pharmacy called Apothecure. At the time, Oregon, the state of Texas and federal government launched investigations.
The Texas case finally wrapped up this week, leading to Apothecure, owner Gary Osborn, and another of his companies paying a total of $200,000. In October, Apothecure and Osborn were fined another $200,000 to settle federal charges and Osborn was sentenced to one year criminal probation.
Compounding pharmacies are allowed to mix small amounts of custom medicines, largely without federal oversight. They've been in the news lately because a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy was found to be at the heart of the meningitis outbreak that infected more than 500 people and killed 36. The case revived a longtime complaint among consumer advocates and some in Congress that many compounding pharmacies have become de facto drug manufacturers.
The Apothecure case led to tighter rules in Oregon; according to the Board of Pharmacy, compounding pharmacies are inspected yearly. Oregon settled its case with Apothecure in 2008, forbidding it from doing business in the state unless it met certain conditions.