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Federal health officials recently announced that two additional drugs have been potentially linked to the ongoing fungal meningitis outbreak.  Both drugs were distributed by the New England Compounding Center–the same pharmaceutical company that distributed the contaminated pain injections blamed for the meningitis outbreak that has now sickened more than 200 people and killed at least 15.

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not confirmed that the two additional products are contaminated, it has issued a warning and will continue investigating.  One of the products is used during heart surgery and the other product is a steroid called triamcinolone acetonide.  In a released statement, the agency said, “[a] patient with possible meningitis potentially associated with epidural injection of an additional NECC product, triamcinolone acetonide, has been identified through active surveillance and reported to the FDA. Triamcinolone acetonide is a type of steroid injectable product made by NECC. The cases of meningitis identified to date have been associated with methylprednisolone acetate, another similar steroid injectable product.”

The FDA also stated that “two transplant patients with Aspergillus fumigates infection who were administered NECC cardioplegic solution during surgery have been reported. Cardioplegic solution is used to induce cardiac muscle paralysis during open heart surgery to prevent injury to the heart.”  

Further, the FDA warned that “the sterility of any injectable drugs, including ophyhalmic drugs that are injectable or used in conjunction with eye surgery, and cardioplegic solutions produced by NECC are of significant concern, and out of an abundance of caution, patients who received these products should be alerted to the potential risk of infection.”

The New England Compounding Center has recalled all pharmaceutical products that were compounded at and distributed from its Framingham, Massachusetts facility and has voluntarily suspended operations.

On October 11, 2012, the first personal injury lawsuit in relation to the deadly outbreak was filed in Minnesota federal court by a woman who received a steroid injection for back pain and began experiencing meningitis symptoms.

For more information on this meningitis outbreak, contact the Ohio pharmaceutical lawyers at Clark, Perdue & List.

Source: NBC News, “More drugs implicated in fungal meningitis outbreak,” Maggie Fox, October 15, 2012.