Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Massachusetts pharmacy linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak, failed to take crucial steps to ensure the safety of its products


Massachusetts health officials report pharmacy linked to meningitis outbreak failed to follow safety rules.


The Wall Street Journal (10/24, Martin, Rockoff, Maremont, Subscription Publication, 2.08M) reports that New England Compounding Center, the Massachusetts pharmacy linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak, failed to take crucial steps to ensure the safety of its products, according to state health officials. The Journal notes the firm neglected to sterilize its products for the minimum required time, failed to keep its manufacturing equipment sanitary, and operated a leaky boiler near the room in which drugs were being packaged. In addition, Massachusetts health officials said that NECC violated industry-backed guidelines for testing the safety of the steroid now linked to the outbreak.

        The New York Times (10/24, Goodnough, Subscription Publication, 1.23M) reports that according to the state health authorities, "one finding in particular stands out: the pharmacy, the New England Compounding Center, shipped some orders of the drug implicated in the outbreak without waiting for the final results of sterility testing. And while company records indicate the tests found no contamination, regulators said they were skeptical of the company's methods." The Times observes that Massachusetts officials painted "a harrowing picture of a company that flouted crucial rules as it hurried to ship drugs around the country."

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