Bryan Cohen May 24, 2013, 6:08pm

NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced Thursday the state would retain the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy as an expert consultant to help ongoing evaluations of the state's compounding pharmacies.

Under the terms of a contract between the state and the NABP, the association's pharmacists will help the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs with field inspections at compounding pharmacies, detailed record audits, in-depth analysis of inspection findings, inquiries into complaints about the pharmacies, bringing charges against noncompliant pharmacies and determinining if any pharmacy's operations pose potential health risks.

"There is a significant presence of large-scale compounding pharmacies in New Jersey," Chiesa said. "Recent events have made clear that we must remain vigilant in our inspection and analysis of their operations. This partnership with NABP enables our inspectors to draw upon a greater body of expertise and experience to address this growing industry. We are taking a comprehensive look at New Jersey's compounding pharmacies, and will act immediately on any violations that appear to threaten the public's health and safety."

While the DCA's Enforcement Bureau includes inspectors who are licensed pharmacists, the state is looking to expand its ability to inspect the facilities, given the growing size of the operations and recent contamination issues at multiple U.S. facilities.

New Jersey licenses approximately 40 retail pharmacies to perform sterile compounding and 109 hospital pharmacies that are allowed to compound sterile products to meet patient needs. The New Jersey Board of Pharmacy regulates the pharmacies to protect public health by ensuring the efficacy and standards of the products.

In March, the division discovered contamination in intravenous bags compounded by Tinton Falls-based Med Prep Consulting Inc. The bags were subsequently sent to a Connecticut hospital. There have been no injuries or illnesses reported as a result of the contamination.

The NABP is an impartial professional organization that supports state boards of pharmacy to develop uniform public health protection regulations.

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