Encourage Crackdown on Substandard Health Pharmacies

Target: Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick

Goal: Increase the safety standards of the health pharmacies in Massachusetts that are currently operating at below-par levels

Surprise safety inspections were conducted at specialty pharmacies in the state of Massachusetts recently, and the results discovered were shocking. Of the 37 pharmacies inspected, only four of them were found to be operating at minimum industry safety standards. This sort of substandard safety regulation could easily lead to the contamination of drugs and/or the outbreak of disease. For these reasons, the Massachusetts state government must crack down on these facilities and force them to begin operating at better health standards.

Last year, a fatal fungal meningitis outbreak traced its origins back to a pharmacy in Framingham that was operating at similarly substandard conditions. Such an outbreak could easily happen again if pharmacy working conditions are not improved. If the rooms where sterile, injectable drugs get prepared are not operating as safely and as carefully as possible, there can be serious, disastrous consequences.

Such consequences now seem eminently possible. Of the 33 installations found to be violating health safety codes, 12 of them were said to be in “serious” violation of state safety regulations. These particular pharmacies have had to temporarily shut down some or all of their operations depending on the violation (with one of them in particular already surrendering its license after “significant issues” were found with its clean rooms). This is a good step to take to ensure that the offending pharmacies get their acts together. But that still leaves 21 remaining facilities that need their operations changed as well.

If action is not taken to ensure that proper safety regulations are met in these pharmacies, extreme health problems could result. The Massachusetts government needs to act here, and act quickly.


Dear Governor Patrick,

Your state’s specialty pharmacies are not operating at a level of quality that meets even minimum federal standards. As such, they pose a dangerous risk to public health in your state.

As you know, there was recently an outbreak of fungal meningitis in your state that was traced back to a Framingham pharmacy. You do not want a similar outbreak occurring again. This is why action needs to be taken to ensure the safety of the pharmacies in your state.

Already, you have targeted a number of pharmacies that were in serious violation of health regulations and shut down some or all of their operations, and have proposed increased spending for health inspections as well as stricter requirements for inspectors. These are all positive measures to take and represent steps in the right direction. But you cannot stop until the problem has been completely dealt with, and for that you must continue to work to create an environment in your state where people do not have to be concerned about the working conditions of their pharmacies.


[Your Name Here]

Photo courtesy of pixabay

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One Comment

  1. It amazes me that, when dealing with the health and well-being of others, that anyone could be anything but absolutely and completely careful. Employees at pharmacies, in particular, seem as though their entire job should be treated with complete caution. It amazes me that anyone could fail to act in such a way when their job is that important.

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