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More Bacteria & Fungi Found in Drugs from Compounding Pharmacy

As investigations continue into the New England Compounding Center (NECC), the news isn’t encouraging.

In fact, according to NBC News, the bacterial and fungal contamination at the Massachusetts Compounding Center may have spread beyond the injection epidural steroids that have already been linked to a meningitis outbreak, 541 infections and more than 36 fatalities.

Our Boston personal injury attorneys want to warn individuals of these new developments in the NECC investigation. As more information on the Compounding Center comes to light, we firmly hope that no more people will have to suffer the devastation that comes with a serious or fatal infection. 820943_injection.jpg

More Bacteria & Fungi Identified
A Health Alert released by federal officials on Monday December 3 has raised concerns that contamination at the compounding pharmacy may be more widespread than originally believed. New lab results have shown that fungi and bacteria are present in unopened vials of three different drugs produced by the compounding center.

This new discovery refers to three new drugs, in addition to the epidural steroids that were contaminated and in addition to the two other drugs that NECC already identified Bacillus bacteria in. The newly identified contaminated drugs include injection betamethasone; triamcinolone; and cardioplegia. They are used, respectively, to treat inflammation, severe itching and during heart surgery.

The new vials of these three drugs were found to contain a dozen types of fungal species and Bacillus bacteria including Aspergillus, Cladosporium and Peniciullum. Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that some of these organisms have been linked to disease in humans.

The Risk to Patients
CDC alerts indicate that some patients have reported illnesses after receiving one of these three drugs produced at NECC. Reported complaints include inflammation of the membranes of the central nervous system, as well as other medical issues. However, there have been no confirmed reports to date of cases of fungal meningitis, spinal infections or para-spinal infections resulting from patients taking any of these three medications.

Because there have been no confirmed reports, CDC officials indicated that there is no evidence that non-methylprednisolone NECC products have caused meningitis outbreaks. However, this doesn’t mean that reports will not come to light in the future and it does not mean that the drugs are necessarily safe. According to NBC, officials from CDC are urging doctors to carefully monitor patients for any signs of fungal infection if they have been dosed with the potentially contaminated NECC medications.

The Investigation Continues
NECC is now closed but the consequences of their careless behavior are still coming to light and investigations still continue into the negligent and irresponsible behavior at the Compounding Center.

Evidence of environmental problems and unsanitary conditions in the lab dates back to at least January, and more than 14,000 patients were treated with the tainted epidural steroids that gave rise to the meningitis outbreak. New cases may still be reported from the epidural steroids or when the bacteria and fungus from these other contaminated drugs begins to manifest as an infection.

If you are have been affected by the fungal meningitis outbreak or other illness caused by drugs from NECC, call the Massachusetts Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:
New England Meningitis Watch: Compounding Pharmacy Troubles Nothing New, Boston Personal Injury Lawyer, November 13, 2012
More bacteria, fungi in drugs from Mass. Pharmacy, NBC News, December 3, 2012