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Compound drug law gets Senate approval

WASHINGTON — Congress took a half step Monday toward increasing federal oversight of so-called compounding pharmacies that custom mix medications in bulk, a year after a meningitis outbreak from contaminated steroid pain injections killed 64 people and sickened hundreds more.

The Senate approved the bill by voice vote, sending it to the White House, where President Barack Obama is expected to sign it into law. The legislation also creates a national system for tracking prescription drugs from manufacturers to retail pharmacies, first through serial numbers on bottles and later through electronic codes. The House passed it in September.

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