EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

December 10, 2012

Whittier: Only part of pharmacy closed by state

'IV/compounding room' should re-open in 2 to 3 weeks

HAVERHILL — The Whittier Pharmacist’s primary drug-dispensing operation has not been affected by the state’s recent order that it must close it’s IV/compounding room where certain medications are mixed until protocol changes are made, according to a press release from the Whittier Health Network.

Following an unannounced inspection by regulators Nov. 28, the Board of Registration in Pharmacy ordered the Bradford pharmacy at 145 Ward Hill Ave. to stop dispensing “specialized compounds.” Whittier’s corporate office is downtown in Railroad Square.

A press release put out by the state Public Health Department last week said the pharmacy was ordered to cease operations until it brings its sterile compounding operations into compliance with federal standards for storing and producing sterile injectable medications.

Whittier’s release said compounding is only a small part of the pharmacy’s practice and that company officials expect the compounding room to re-open in two to three weeks after changes are made to comply with the Board of Pharmacy’s “new interpretation of recent changes” to federal rules.

“All other areas of pharmacy practice were found to be in compliance with Board of Pharmacy standards and regulations,” the Whittier release said. “The Whittier Pharmacist will continue to provide full pharmacy services to its patients utilizing commercially available compounds when available.

The Haverhill compounding pharmacy was one of three such operations shut down by Gov. Deval Patrick since the Board of Pharmacy began unannounced inspections in the wake of the meningitis outbreak at the New England Compounding Center in Framingham. Other Massachusetts pharmacies where minor deficiencies were found have been ordered to make corrections. The meningitis outbreak has been linked to tainted steroids and is responsible for a deadly nationwide outbreak.

“The Whittier Pharmacist, Inc. has always maintained the highest standards of excellence in care in the pursuit of quality pharmacy services and was not found to have any safety, licensing or regulatory violations during this most recent inspection,” Whittier’s release said.

The Whittier Pharmacist opened in 1995.

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