State public health officials want the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to play a stronger role in regulating large-scale compounding pharmacies to prevent tragedies like the recent nationwide meningitis outbreak, officials said at a meeting in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

Health officials from 50 states and FDA representatives met to discuss regulatory concerns after contaminated vials of a steroid medication for back and joint pain sickened 620 people with meningitis in 19 states. Thirty-nine have died. All received injections for back pain made by a Massachusetts-based specialty drug firm called the New England Compounding Center.

Typically, states -- not the FDA -- govern pharmacies, but many states lack the resources to oversee large-scale operations such as the New England Compounding Center (NECC), the state officials said, according to The New York Times.