Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) on Thursday announced that he will participate in a U.S. Senate committee hearing on Nov. 15, to examining state and federal oversight of the New England Compounding Center (NECC), the source of the contaminated steroid injections that have caused a meningitis outbreak nationwide and led to 13 deaths in Tennessee.
“This hearing is an important step to learning as much as we can about this tragic outbreak so that we can ensure that it never happens again. Tennessee officials identified the outbreak and responded quickly to the cases in our state, and I’m asking for their insights to help legislators in our next steps,” he said.
In the new Congress, Senator Alexander is likely to be ranking Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which is holding the hearing entitled “Pharmacy Compounding: Implications of the 2012 Meningitis Outbreak.”
The senator sent letters to the Tennessee Department of Health, the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy, the Tennessee Pharmacists Association, Tennessee Medical Association, the Tennessee Hospital Association, and the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners, inviting them to submit testimony for the record on this issue.
Senator Alexander, along with a bipartisan group of senators serving on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, last month sent letters to the FDA, Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy, and NECC owners, seeking information related to the outbreak.
He also joined Senator Bob Corker (R-Tn.) in sending a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg asking for clarity regarding existing laws governing oversight of compounding pharmacies like NECC and information about any inspections of NECC and actions taken since the FDA warned the center in December 2006.