Just a few short months ago, many people had never heard of a compounding pharmacy. Now, however, compounding pharmacies have been in the news many times in recent months, starting with headlines about a devastating outbreak of fungal infections allegedly caused by the New England Compounding Pharmacy (NECC).
Infections and issues related to compounding pharmacies have prompted discussions of changing regulatory laws and created nationwide concern as people throughout the United States were diagnosed with meningitis due to the NECC's contaminated steroid medications. Unfortunately, our Boston injury attorneys know that the NECC case was not an isolated incident and that many compounding pharmacies are simply not producing drugs that are as safe as they should be. A recent incident involving a Tennessee compounding pharmacy has confirmed this and underscored the fact that compounding pharmacies can cause serious public health problems.
More Trouble at Compounding Pharmacies
According to Fox News, health officials are now investigating cases involving patients who were injected with medicines from a Tennessee compounding pharmacy called Main Street Family Pharmacy.
Main Street Family Pharmacy was creating injections with methylprednisolone acetate, which is the same drug that was produced by NECC and that caused the fungal infection throughout the entire United States. More than 55 people died and 740 more were injured by the fungal infection caused by NECC and this made patients and public health officials very nervous when news broke that a Tennessee pharmacy had sent out the same drug that was also contaminated.
As of now, however, authorities indicate that the current situation does not approach the level of severity of the fungal infections and meningitis outbreak prompted by NECC in 2012. However authorities also caution that it is still early and that investigation is still ongoing, which means that things could turn out to be much worse.
So far, seven cases of potential infection have been identified and traced back to drugs from the Main Street Family Pharmacy. Five of those cases are in Illinois and two more are in North Carolina. All five of the patients in Illinois had skin infections in the buttocks and hips. At least one of the North Carolina patients, on the other hand, is reported as having some type of fungal infection. However, a health-care epidemiologist leading the CDC investigation into the incidents reports that there is no current indication that the patient has meningitis or any other life threatening conditions.
As the CDC and other investigations continue into these infections, hopefully no more reports will surface of people developing complications or infections as a result of the injection of drugs from the Main Street Family Pharmacy.
In the meantime, until the investigations are concluded and cases resolved, the FDA has recommended that doctors stop using any sterile drugs distributed by Main Street Family Pharmacy. Main Street Family Pharmacy has indicated that it supports the FDA"s recommendation because in its 15 years of operation, "patient safety has always been and will always be," their top priority. Unfortunately, it seems as if the company may not have lived up to its obligations and may have let patients down.