Congress investigating compounding trade group

New England Compounding Center President, co-owner, and Director of Pharmacy Barry Cadden arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 14,2012, to testify before the House Energy subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing on the Fungal Meningitis Outbreak. Cadden did not testify and chose to take the fifth amendment. (Susan Walsh / AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — House lawmakers are investigating whether the industry group for compounding pharmacies coached the company responsible for a deadly outbreak of meningitis in dealing with regulators.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce sent a letter to the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists requesting any documents it distributed to members about how to respond to state and federal health inspectors.

The committee is investigating the meningitis outbreak linked to contaminated drugs from the New England Compounding Center, which has sickened more than 540 people and killed 36.

Compounding pharmacies, which mix customized medications based on doctors’ instructions, are traditionally overseen by state pharmacy boards. Some members of Congress want the federal Food and Drug Administration to take a bigger role in regulating compounders, in light of the recent outbreak.

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