10-Oct-12 8:00 AM  CST

Addressing the Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

Compounding pharmacies are considered specialty pharmacies and strive to do their best at providing quality medication and service to their patients; however, there are times when an unforeseen outbreak due to a certain medication may occur without warning.  Because of drug shortages, pharmacies sometimes turn to external compounding pharmacies to make up for medication shortages.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate a recent outbreak of meningitis due to patients receiving an epidural steroid injection produced and distributed by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) located in Framingham, Massachusetts.  Due to this outbreak the NECC has voluntary shut down.  The FDA found fungal contamination within a sealed medication vial of methylpredisolone acetate (80mg/ml) that was taken from NECC for investigation.  The FDA is recommending the following advice to healthcare professionals in regards to the fungal meningitis outbreak: 

· Healthcare professionals should not use any product produced by the NECC at the present time. 
· All healthcare professionals should retain and secure all remaining products that were bought from the NECC until the FDA gives additional instructions concerning the disposal of the products. 

Hospital pharmacy technicians and pharmacy technicians working in compounding pharmacies will want to check their medication stock to see if any products they have in stock were purchased from NECC and inform their pharmacist or pharmacy manager of the advice from the FDA concerning the affected drugs that caused the meningitis outbreak.  Technicians can also notify the FDA of any complains or problems associated with the affected products.  Reports can be made to the FDA’s MedWatch voluntary reporting program by calling 1-800-FDA-1088 or reports may be filed online by going to http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/HowToReport/default.htm.  A full list of recalled products that were produced and manufactured by NECC can be found by going to: www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm322752.htm.      

FDA Reports.  “FDA Statement On Fungal Meningitis Outbreak.”  FDA.  Web.  5 Oct 2012.   

Moisse, Katie.  “Meningitis Outbreak Highlights Hazards Of Drug Compounding.”  ABC News. Web.  5 Oct 2012. 

New York Times Reports.  “Rules Lax For Compounding Pharmacies.”  NY Times.  Print.  7 Oct 2012.

For additional information on this article, please contact:
Jennifer O'Reilly
Source: NPTAnews  

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