State Officials Close Down Another Pharmacy Due To Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

Massachusetts officials have closed down another pharmacy as part of a crackdown as an outbreak of meningitis has killed 25 people and made 344 sick.

According to NBC News, a surprise inspection found unsanitary conditions at Infusion Resource, a compounding pharmacy in Waltham, Massachusetts that prepares sterile, injectable medications. Dr. Madeleine Biondolillo, director of the state department of health’s Bureau of Healthcare Safety and Quality, said that on top of having unsanitary conditions, Infusion Resource was also administering injections, which is something that they were not licensed to do.

Biondolillo did not say that any of Infusion Resource’s products had anything to do with the outbreak of meningitis linked to pain injections.

On Saturday, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported six new cases of fungal disease in the outbreak traced to steroid injections that were made by the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts. The six new cases brought the total to 344 cases of infection in 18 states, with 25 deaths. Officials have closed NECC and another pharmacy with common ownership. Ameridose has also been closed down

The fungal infection causes an unusual type of meningitis in people who got injections directly into their spine. In order to fight this type of meningitis, patients must undergo weeks or months of treatments with anti-fungal drugs. These anti-fungal drugs, alone, can be dangerous and cause sever side-effects to patients who take them.

State and federal regulators are working hard to find out how the drugs got contaminated and how the company managed to operate at such a large scale for as long as it did.

“As our joint investigation with our federal partners into NECC and Ameridose continues, we have launched a series of immediate, on-site inspections of other compounding pharmacies in Massachusetts that prepare sterile injectable medications,” Dr. Lauren Smith, interim commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, said at a news conference on Sunday.

“We will continue our aggressive unannounced inspections of compounding pharmacies while also focusing on our ongoing investigations of NECC and Ameridose.” Smith said.