Drug Safety Project

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The drug supply chain has become increasingly complex in recent years. Today’s prescription and over-the-counter remedies originate in factories all over the world, moving into American homes through supply chains that can involve numerous processing plants, manufacturers, suppliers, brokers, packagers, and distributors. This increases the risk that substandard or counterfeit medicines could reach patients and contributes to shortages of essential medicines. Pew’s work on drug safety helps to ensure a safe, reliable pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution system.

Our Work

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  • What Are Compounded Drugs, and How Can They Be Kept Safe?

    Pharmaceutical compounding is the creation of medications for patients whose clinical needs cannot be met by commercially available products approved by the Food and Drug Administration. For example, if a patient who cannot swallow pills needs a liquid version of a medicine that is FDA-approved only in pill form, a compounding pharmacy can make the medication. Read More

  • A Q&A With a Survivor of Contaminated Compounded Drugs

    In 2012 and 2013, patients across the country were injected with fungus-contaminated drugs that had been made and distributed by a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy. More than 60 people died of fungal meningitis, and more than 750 people in 20 states became seriously ill. Many of these patients still struggle with chronic, even disabling, health problems, including pain and mobility challenges... Read More

  • Full Implementation and Enforcement of Drug Compounding Law Will Save Lives

    Four years ago today, Congress responded to a catastrophic fungal meningitis outbreak by enacting the bipartisan Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA). That outbreak—the most extensive known example of harm to patients caused by compounded drugs—sickened at least 750 people, killing more than 60. Compounded drugs are specialized medications for patients whose clinical needs cannot be... Read More

Media Contact

Sara Brinda

Senior Associate, Communications