Compounding pharmacies in Quincy, Norwood closed after surprise state inspection

Compounding pharmacies in Quincy and Norwood have been shut down after a surprise state inspection found several alleged violations.

Anne Roach, media relations manager for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, said the state agency conducted a surprise inspection of Medi-Son Solutions of Norwood on April 2.

“During the inspection, the pharmacy was observed to be non-compliant with Board regulations, including requirements pertaining to verifying prescriptions, drug inventories, expired medications and sterile compounding,” Roach said in an e-mail.

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The Board of Registration in Pharmacy subsequently ordered the pharmacy, located at 898 Washington St., to halt all pharmacy operations.

Roach did not specify whether any drugs had been recalled due to issues with compounding, in which medicines not available from drug manufacturers are prepared for individual patients, and did not respond to follow-up questions.

Despite the cease-and-desist notice, in a follow up inspection on May 8, the pharmacy was still in operation.

A cease-and-desist notice was sent to the manager of record – Medi-Son’s sister company, CarePro in Quincy, for assisting Medi-Son in violating the cease and desist notice. CarePro is located at 343 Newport Ave.

The Board of Registration also voted on July 2 to suspend the licenses for Medi-Son, CarePro, and managers Christopher Le and Son Dinh.

“The hearings on summary suspension and cease-and-desist orders began on August 12 and remain ongoing. The licenses of the pharmacies and pharmacists will remain suspended pending the outcome of the hearings,” Roach said.

Neither manager returned messages left at the closed pharmacy. A recorded message acknowledged the closure, but didn’t specify the reason.

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, our pharmacy has been forced to close temporarily. We will do everything we can in the meantime to facilitate the transfer of your medications,” the message said. “Nothing is more important to us than your health and well being. We’re sorry for the inconvenience and hope we can take care of you once we are able to open again. Thank you for your support.”

Roach said the inspections are part of enhanced oversight of the pharmacy industry since the New England Compounding Center in Framingham was blamed for the fatal outbreak of fungal meningitis in 2012.

Between last fall and February, 37 compounding pharmacies in Massachusetts were inspected, only four of which passed inspection.

Unannounced inspections will continue to be part of an enhanced oversight, Roach said.

“The Department of Public Health has made great strides to enhance oversight of the pharmacy industry in Massachusetts since last fall,” Roach said. “The Governor provided more than $1 million in new funding in this year’s budget to enable the Board to hire additional staff to enhance inspections of pharmacies.”