Pharmacy In Outbreak Is Raided

Pharmacy In Outbreak Is Raided

October 18th, 2012 // 3:40 pm @

Federal criminal investigators on Tuesday searched the New England Compounding Center, which supplied drugs tied to the deadly meningitis outbreak.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said criminal investigators from the agency were at the NECC, based in Framingham, Mass., on Tuesday. U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz of Massachusetts said her office is investigating allegations concerning the compounding center but didn’t provide further details.

Paul R. Cirel, a lawyer for the New England Compounding Center said in a statement late Tuesday: “It is difficult to understand the purpose of this search, since we have been clear that New England Compounding Center would provide, and has provided, anything requested. We’ve been clear that warrants weren’t needed; asking would have produced the same result. Nevertheless, we continue to offer our cooperation.”

Also on Tuesday, federal health officials updated treatment guidelines for doctors dealing with the outbreak, saying oral medicine can be used to treat mild cases of meningitis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there is growing evidence that the fungus Exserohilum rostratum, ” a brown-black mold,” is the predominant pathogen behind the fungal-meningitis outbreak associated with tainted steroid injections made by NECC.

As of Tuesday, the CDC said there have been 231 cases of fungal meningitis that have caused 15 deaths. There have also been two joint infections.

Separately, health officials said Tuesday they are investigating only one fungal infection in a transplant patient possibly linked to an NECC cardioplegic product used during surgery. On Monday, the FDA had put the number at two cases.

The CDC said the medicine voriconazole “may be effective in treating infections due to brown-black molds’ as well as infections caused by Aspergillus, another type of fungus. The agency said patients with more severe disease should be started on the IV form of voriconazole while patients with milder forms of illnesses could be started on the oral version.

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