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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

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Americare Compounding, LLC. 4/22/14

  

Department of Health and Human Services logoDepartment of Health and Human Services

Public Health Service
Food and Drug Administration
 
New York District
158-15 Liberty Ave
Jamaica, NY 11433

 

VIA UNITED PARCEL SERVICE
DELIVERY SIGNATURE REQUESTED
 
WARNING LETTER NYK-2014-29
April 22, 2014
 
Thomas D’Angelo
Pharmacist/Co-Owner
Americare Compounding, LLC.
319 Nassau Blvd
Garden City South, NY 11530
 
Dear Mr. D’Angelo:
 
From June 3, 2013, to June 19, 2013, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigators conducted an inspection of your facility, Americare Compounding, LLC, located at 319 Nassau Blvd, Garden City South, NY 11530. During the inspection, the investigators noted that you were not receiving valid prescriptions for individually-identified patients for a portion of the drug products you were producing. In addition, the investigators observed serious deficiencies in your practices for producing sterile drug products, which put patients at risk. For example, our investigators noted that your operators performed aseptic operations wearing gowns that can be reused for a week and your firm did not use a disinfectant with sporicidal properties in the cleanroom. Our investigators also found that your firm failed to demonstrate through appropriate studies that your hoods are able to provide adequate protection of the ISO 5 area in which sterile products are processed. Therefore, your products are produced in an environment that poses a significant contamination risk.  These observations were noted on Form FDA-483, issued on June 19, 2013. We acknowledge receipt of your firm’s response to the Form FDA-483 dated July 3, 2013.
 
Based on this inspection, it appears that you are producing drugs that violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).
 
A. Compounded Drugs Under the FDCA
 
At the time FDA inspected your facility, there were conflicting judicial decisions regarding the applicability of section 503A of the FDCA [21 U.S.C. § 353a], which exempts compounded drugs from several key statutory requirements if certain conditions are met.[1] Nevertheless, receipt of valid prescriptions for individually-identified patients prior to distribution of compounded drugs was relevant for both section 503A of the FDCA and the agency’s Compliance Policy Guide 460.200 on Pharmacy Compounding (CPG) (2002), which was then in effect.[2] During the FDA inspection, investigators observed that your firm did not receive valid prescriptions for individually-identified patients for a portion of the drug products you produce. Based on this factor alone, those drugs were not entitled to the statutory exemptions for compounded drugs described in section 503A of the FDCA and did not qualify for the agency’s exercise of enforcement discretion set forth in the CPG.[3] 
 
Since FDA inspected your facility, Congress enacted and the President signed into law the Compounding Quality Act (CQA)[4], which amended FDCA section 503A by eliminating the advertising restrictions that had been the basis for the conflicting judicial decisions. The CQA otherwise left section 503A intact, and so clarified that the remainder of section 503A, including the requirement of valid prescriptions for individually identified patients, is applicable in every federal judicial circuit. Accordingly, the drugs you compound without valid prescriptions for individually identified patients are not entitled to the exemptions in section 503A.[5] 
 
In addition, we remind you that there are a number of other conditions that must be satisfied to qualify for the exemptions in section 503A of the FDCA.[6]
 
B. Violations of the FDCA
 
The drug products you manufacture and distribute without valid prescriptions for individually-identified patients are misbranded drugs in violation of section 502(f)(1) [21 U.S.C. 352(f)(1)] of the FDCA. In addition, your sterile drug products are prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been contaminated with filth, or whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health. As such, all sterile products you manufacture are adulterated within the meaning of section 501(a)(2)(A) [21 U.S.C. § 351(a)(2)(A)] of the FDCA. Furthermore, because you manufacture and distribute drugs without valid prescriptions for individually-identified patients, the manufacture of those drugs are also subject to FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) regulations for Finished Pharmaceuticals, Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 210 and 211. FDA investigators observed significant CGMP violations at your facility, causing such drug product(s) to be adulterated within the meaning of section 501(a)(2)(B) of the FDCA [21 U.S.C. § 351(a)(2)(B)].
 
Misbranded Drug Products
 
Because the drug products[7] for which you have not obtained valid prescriptions for individually-identified patients are intended for conditions that are not amenable to self-diagnosis and treatment by individuals who are not medical practitioners, adequate directions cannot be written for them so that a layman can use these products safely for their intended uses.  Consequently, their labeling fails to bear adequate directions for their intended uses, causing them to be misbranded under section 502(f)(1) of the FDCA [21 U.S.C. § 352(f)(1)], and they are not exempt from the requirements of section 502(f)(1) of the FDCA (see, e.g., 21 C.F.R. § 201.115).  It is also a prohibited act under section 301(k) of the FDCA [21 U.S.C. § 331(k)] to do any act with respect to a drug, if such act is done while the drug is held for sale after shipment in interstate commerce of the components used to make the drug and results in the drug being misbranded.
 
Adulteration Charges
 
Additionally, FDA investigators noted that your sterile drug products were prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions, whereby they may have become contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health, causing your drug products to be adulterated under section 501(a)(2)(A) of the FDCA [21 U.S.C. § 351(a)(2)(A)]. The conditions include operators performing aseptic operations with gowns that could be reused for a week. Our investigators also determined that you have not conducted smoke studies and that you do not use a disinfectant with sporicidal properties in the clean room. FDA investigators also noted CGMP violations at your facility, causing the drug products for which you have not obtained valid prescriptions for individually-identified patients to be adulterated under section 501(a)(2)(B) of the FDCA [21 U.S.C. § 351(a)(2)(B)].  The violations include, for example:
 
1.    Your firm failed to establish and follow appropriate written procedures that are designed to prevent microbiological contamination of drug products purporting to be sterile, and that include validation of all aseptic and sterilization processes (21 CFR 211.113(b)).
 
2.    Your firm failed to ensure that manufacturing personnel wear clothing appropriate to protect drug product from contamination (21 CFR 211.28(a)).
 
3.    Your firm failed to adequately design the facility with adequate separation or defined areas or such other control systems necessary to prevent contamination or mix-ups (21 CFR 211.42 (b)).
 
4.    Your firm failed to establish an adequate system for monitoring environmental conditions in aseptic processing areas (21 CFR 211.42(c)(10)(iv)).
 
5.    Your firm failed to establish an adequate system for cleaning and disinfecting the room and equipment to produce aseptic conditions (21 CFR 211.42(c)(10)(v)).
 
6.    Your firm does not have, for each batch of drug product purporting to be sterile and/or pyrogen-free, appropriate laboratory determination of satisfactory conformance to final specifications for the drug product (21 CFR 211.167(a)).   
 
7.    Your firm failed to establish and follow an adequate written testing program designed to assess the stability characteristics of drug products and to use results of such stability testing to determine appropriate storage conditions and expiration dates (21 CFR 211.166(a)).
 
8.    Your firm does not have, for each batch of drug product, appropriate laboratory determination of satisfactory conformance to final specifications for the drug product, including the identity and strength of each active ingredient, prior to release (21 CFR 211.165(a)).
 
It is also a prohibited act under section 301(k) of the FDCA [21 U.S.C. § 331(k)] to do any act with respect to a drug, if such act is done while the drug is held for sale after shipment in interstate commerce of the components used to make the drug and results in the drug being adulterated.
 
C. Corrective Actions
 
In your July 3, 2013, response to the Form FDA-483 you referenced your purported compliance with the United States Pharmacopeia (USP)-National Formulary (NF) General Chapter <797> Pharmaceutical Compounding-- Sterile Preparations; and, you objected to any finding of deficiency in relation to your operations. As noted above, your firm manufactured and distributed a portion of your drugs without valid prescriptions for individually-identified patients, and the manufacture of such drugs is subject to FDA’s drug CGMP regulations (21 CFR 210 and 211). Your firm’s planned corrections do not meet the minimum requirements of 21 CFR 211, and there is no assurance that these drug product(s) produced by your firm conform to the basic quality standards that ensure safety, identity, strength, quality, and purity
 
FDA strongly recommends your management immediately undertake a comprehensive assessment of your operations, including facility design, procedures, personnel, processes, materials, and systems. In particular, this review should assess your aseptic processing operations. A third party consultant with relevant sterile drug manufacturing expertise could be useful in conducting this comprehensive evaluation. 
 
D. Conclusion
 
The violations cited in this letter are not intended to be an all-inclusive statement of violations at your facility.  You are responsible for investigating and determining the causes of the violations identified above and for preventing their recurrence or the occurrence of other violations.  It is your responsibility to assure that your firm complies with all requirements of federal law and FDA regulations.
 
You must take prompt action to correct the violations cited in this letter. Failure to promptly correct these violations may result in legal action without further notice, including, without limitation, seizure and injunction. 
 
Within fifteen working days of receipt of this letter, please notify this office in writing of the specific steps you have taken to correct violations.  Please include an explanation of each step being taken to prevent the recurrence of violations, as well as copies of related documentation.  Please address your reply to LCDR Frank Verni, Compliance Officer, at the following address.If you do not believe that the products discussed above are in violation of the FDCA, include your reasoning and any supporting information for our consideration. If the corrective actions cannot be completed within fifteen working days, state the reason for the delay and the time frame within which the corrections will be implemented.
 
LCDR Frank Verni, Compliance Officer
FDA New York District Office
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
158-15 Liberty Ave
Jamaica, NY 11433
 
If you have questions regarding any issues in this letter, please contact our office at 718-340-7000.
 
Sincerely,
/S/
Ronald Pace
District Director


[1] Compare Western States Med. Ctr. v. Shalala, 238 F.3d 1090 (9th Cir. 2001) with Medical Ctr. Pharm. v. Mukasey, 536 F.3d 383 (5th Cir. 2008).
[2] The CPG set forth a non-exhaustive list of factors that FDA considered in determining whether to take enforcement action when the scope and nature of a pharmacy’s activities raised concerns. This CPG has been withdrawn in light of new legislation. See below.
[3] See 21 U.S.C. § 353a(a) (granting compounded drugs statutory exemptions if, among other things, “the drug product is compounded for an identified individual patient based on the . . . receipt of a valid prescription order or a notation, approved by the prescribing practitioner, on the prescription order that a compounded product is necessary for the identified patient . . . .”); CPG at 2 (“FDA recognizes that pharmacists traditionally have extemporaneously compounded and manipulated reasonable quantities of human drugs upon receipt of a valid prescription for an individually-identified patient from a licensed practitioner. This traditional activity is not the subject of this guidance.”).
[4] Drug Quality and Security Act, Public Law 113-54, 127 Stat. 587 (Nov. 27, 2013).
[5] The CQA contains a number of other provisions, including new exemptions and requirements for compounders seeking to operate as outsourcing facilities. A discussion of the CQA and the agency’s plans to implement the new law may be found at http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/PharmacyCompounding/default.htm.
[6] For example, section 503A and the CPG also address anticipatory compounding, which includes compounding (not distribution) before receipt of a valid prescription order for an individual patient. We are not addressing anticipatory compounding here.
[7] The specific products made by your firm are drugs within the meaning of section 201(g) of the Act, [21 U.S.C.§ 321 (g)] because they are intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of diseases.