LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) – UCLA health officials insisted Saturday that no patients were administered medications with outdated or adulterated ingredients, despite a report that the state Board of Pharmacy found more than 1,000 IV bags of sterile medications made with expired components at a university compounding facility.
Sterile medications are usually injected directly into the bloodstream.
The Los Angeles Times reported that UCLA quietly closed the Westside compounding facility last year after the state inspection. Inspectors found that at least 350 of the potentially tainted IV bags were delivered to patients throughout the UCLA Health system, according to records cited by The Times.
But UCLA officials said Friday there are “no allegations or findings that outdated ingredients were administered to patients.” According to the university, “the outdated compound identified by the Board of Pharmacy was never intended for use, because we were no longer compounding that product and had found other suppliers. No adulterated ingredients were identified.”
“In October 2016, UCLA Health voluntarily closed one off-campus compounding pharmacy following an annual site visit by the state Board of Pharmacy,” according to UCLA. “It was a business decision that does not affect UCLA Health’s other pharmacies or ability to provide exceptional patient care. UCLA Health is committed to compliance with pharmacy board regulations designed to ensure high-quality care.”
According to The Times, the state inspection prompted an investigation by the pharmacy board, which in July filed an accusation seeking disciplinary sanctions against former pharmacist-in-charge Richard C. Graul and the off-campus facility, UCLA Medical Center Pharmaceutical Technology. The board could impose sanctions such as license revocation, suspension or “further action as deemed necessary and proper,” The Times reported.
The accusation contends the pharmacy lacked proper licensing, used expired drugs in compounding sterile medications and failed to meet state standards for quality assurance and product testing, according to The Times.
Contacted by the paper, Graul declined to comment.
According to The Times, the expired drugs cited by regulators include monosodium glutamate monohydrate (MSG) and monosodium aspartate monohydrate (MSA), which are used in cardiac surgery and other surgical procedures; along with clopidogrel, which is used to prevent blood clotting; mexiletine, which is used to treat arrhythmia; and the hormone estradiol, which in intravenous solutions is sometimes used to treat heavy uterine bleeding.
UCLA officials said the Pharmaceutical Technology facility was used to compound nonsterile-to-sterile medications, but “like many medical centers, UCLA Health now no longer compounds such medications.”
“UCLA closed the pharmacy because it was providing services that were redundant to services available elsewhere,” according to the university. “UCLA had already begun to use other suppliers for the nonsterile-to-sterile compounding projects produced by the pharmacy, with the goal being to use other suppliers for all such compounds.
The decision to close the pharmacy was a business decision that does not affect UCLA Health’s other pharmacies or ability to provide exceptional patient care.”
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