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Massachusetts State Board of Pharmacy Reverses Pharmacy Punishment

David W. Hodges
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Partner at Kennedy Hodges LLP practicing pharmacy error, medical malpractice and personal injury law
Posted on Jul 30, 2013

According to the Globe, state regulators deserted their plan to shut down Royal Palm Specialty Pharmacy of Webster following a teenager being sent to the emergency room due to a medication error. Allegedly the State Board of Pharmacy found out about this serious incident after the teen’s mother complained to them four months after her son’s health scare, as the Massachusetts pharmacy failed to promptly notify the Board of this serious pharmacy error.

It appears that Royal Palm Specialty Pharmacy of Webster filled thyroid medication for this teenage boy that was 1,000 times too strong, leading to him being hospitalized following a heart attack and resulting in his ongoing heart problems. This incident occurred just months prior to the meningitis outbreak that shed light on problems with the state’s oversight of compounding pharmacies.

Although the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy voted to shut down the pharmacy, the decision was reversed in order to negotiate a settlement with the pharmacy.  Now, over a year later, it appears that Royal Palm is continuing to operate, and the Board has not disciplined the pharmacy or even reached an agreement, according to the Globe.

Because the board has already been questioned for ignoring warning signs and complaints regarding the New England Compounding Center, many are concerned that there is a problem with the lack of regulation over compounding pharmacies that make specialty formulated drugs. However, since then, the pharmacy board’s executive director was fired, dozens of unannounced inspections of high-risk compounding pharmacies have occurred, state regulations have been toughened, and cease-and-desist orders have been issued to about a dozen compounding pharmacies in the state.

Additionally, officials have stated that they are still pursuing disciplinary action against Royal Palm, but they are still conducting a thorough investigation. However, several board members who made the reversal decisions about Royal Palm and New England Compounding have not been replaced and still remain on the Massachusetts State Board of Pharmacy.

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