After a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy was found to be the source of a deadly meningitis outbreak, other compounding pharmacies are looking at the story as a cautionary example of what can happen if proper procedures aren’t followed.
The outbreak, which has sickened 424 people in 19 states and killed 31, has been traced to injectable steroid medication produced by the New England Compounding Center.
A report in USA Today quotes Cindy Smith, the pharmacist-in-charge of Medical Center Compounding Pharmacy in Tennessee, as saying that the NECC is not representative of the industry as a whole.
Nevertheless, Smith made her pharmacy staff read a U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspectors’ report, which detailed unsanitary conditions at the NECC, including:
— Mold and bacteria in two “clean rooms” that were supposed to be sterile.
— Labeling errors that made it difficult to tell sterile and non-sterile ingredients apart.
— “Yellow residue,” and “green residue” and other unknown foreign substances on various pieces of equipment.
Smith says: “I wanted them to understand how really easy it is to get lazy, to get careless, and what the consequences are of that.”
Compounding pharmacies prepare specialty medications in response to physician requests, using ingredients that come from other sources. The meningitis outbreak has raised concerns over the fact that compounding pharmacies are largely exempt from federal inspection and regulation standards.
Lopez McHugh is investigating cases related to this outbreak. If you or a loved one had an injection and were diagnosed with meningitis, you should consult with a Lopez McHugh lawyer for a free consultation.
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