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The Boston Globe


Little scrutiny as drug compounder expanded

Early fears about tainted products, but no crackdown

In February 2003, 11 federal and state health regulators gathered around a conference table in Boston, joined by three colleagues patched in on telemonitors from Washington, to decide the fate of New England Compounding ­Center.

The tiny Massachusetts pharmacy seemed too obscure to require so much firepower. But at least four patients had recently died of meningitis caused by contaminated steroid injections made by compounding pharmacies in California and South Carolina, and federal investigators were worried they could have another public health crisis on their hands, according to documents provided by a US Senate committee and the US Food and Drug ­Administration.

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