The head of the Oregon Board of Pharmacy says the 800 pharmacies in the state are safe and sufficiently regulated. This follows news that 12 Americans have died from an outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to contaminated steroid injections.
Gary Schnabel is the executive director of the Oregon Board of Pharmacy. He says the state has five inspectors who try to check every pharmacy, every year.
There have been no cases of fungal meningitis in Oregon, but the outbreak has been linked to a compounding pharmacy. That is a pharmacy that makes small batches of medications. In this case, it was a steroid without a preservative, to be injected into the spine to stop pain. Schnabel says he’s comfortable with the safety of Oregon’s pharmacies.
Schnabel explained, “We hear stories of things that happen in other states and we cringe. And we hope it’s not happening in Oregon. We’re pretty sure it’s not.”
Schnabel says the board gets about 300 complaints a year, normally from customers who say they’ve been given the wrong medication. For example, if their bag was switched with another customer’s at the counter.