Washington (CNN) - The Senate Monday approved a bill to give the Food and Drug Administration oversight of large compounding pharmacies to insure they meet the agency's strict safety standards.
The legislation grew out of a deadly outbreak of meningitis last year at the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts.
The measure, which already passed the House, was approved on a voice vote in the Senate. The president is expected to sign the bill sometime this year.
The legislation is aimed at facilities that make large volumes of compounded drugs as opposed to small local pharmacies that compound drugs for individual prescriptions. The measure includes new federal standards for tracking and tracing the materials used in the pharmaceutical supply chain.
"The 751 patients who were sickened by contaminated injections sold by NECC, and the families of the 64 who died, have lived a nightmare over this past year," said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, last week about the bill he helped write. "The medicine that was supposed to help them made them gravely ill or, in far too many cases, took their lives."
Compounding pharmacists customize medications to fit an individual's needs. Doctors will prescribe these custom medications when the manufactured drug won't work.