Data Visualization

U.S. Illnesses and Deaths Associated With Compounded Medications or Repackaged Medications


Pew’s drug safety project has identified more than 50 reported compounding errors or potential errors associated with 1,227 adverse events, including 99 deaths, from 2001 to 2017. However, a 2015 survey found that only 30 percent of states (13 of the 43 that responded) require sterile compounding pharmacies to report serious adverse events. Of the states that require reporting, the type of information that is required to be reported may vary, further contributing to an incomplete picture of adverse events associated with compounded medications. Even in states with strong adverse event reporting requirements, illnesses and deaths caused by compounded drugs are not always linked to the compounding error. Because many such events may go unreported, this chart is likely an underestimation of the number of compounding errors since 2001. Contamination of sterile products was the most common error; others were the result of pharmacists’ and technicians’ miscalculations and mistakes in filling prescriptions.

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Sara Brinda

Senior Associate, Communications