More Regulation for Compounding Pharmacies Soon to Come?
There are people who are thoroughly convinced that a powerful, centralized federal government is a good thing. They see it as a benevolent entity with only our best interests in mind, and have no problems with it growing and expanding, and assuming more power over our lives.
But I am not one of those people.
I’m not an anarchist, mind you, I know we need somebody (or a whole bunch of somebodies) to build roads and bridges, secure our borders, provide for the common defense, and to be a watchdog over such things as national security, public health, and public safety.
But the way I see it, the least amount of government involvement in our lives, the better. I’m kind of “Born to be Wild” that way. So when the story about compounding pharmacies and the fungal meningitis health scandal broke last year (I wrote about it here), my first thoughts were:
“Great. Now the FDA, and every other regulation loving yahoo are going to come down hard on compounding pharmacies, and demand more federal regulatory oversight.”
Guess what? I was right – sort of. It actually began with the state of Massachusetts at the beginning of this year.
Governor Deval Patrick proposed new state legislation last month which would require special licensing for compounding pharmacies, and give the state Board of Pharmacy the authority to fine companies which violate the rules. The legislation will also require that pharmacies which ship drugs into the state be licensed by the state as well.
I know what you’re thinking. “So what’s so bad about that, Magnolia? People’s lives are at stake! Somebody has to make sure these companies follow the rules or people could die!”
And I agree with you. I would also say that if there is going to be some kind of oversight, it should be at the local level, as it is in this case, with the state.
But here’s where it gets dicey. It never stays at the local level. You may recall that right after this scandal broke, several members of congress bolted from their offices like Chicken Little, waving their arms wildly, calling for more federal regulations. And that’s when I start to cringe.
Why? Politics. That’s why.
Politics, powerful special interest lobbies, and lots-o-money are never too far behind a call for more federal regulations. Furthermore, I’m just paranoid enough to believe that if pharmaceutical companies have their way, compounding pharmacies (which provide bioidentical hormones for millions of women) will be burdened by so many federal regulations, it will become impossible for them to compete in a free market place.
Which means only one thing: a pharmaceutical company monopoly on women’s health.
Now maybe that’s okay with you. But it’s not okay with me. There’s nothing more disempowering than not having a choice – especially when it comes to your healthcare. It’s entirely possible that all my paranoia is unfounded. Perhaps this regulatory story will ultimately have a happy ending. We’ll see, I guess. In the meantime, I’ll keep you posted. It’s definitely a story to keep watching.
Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women's health and a women's freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.