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Pharmacy Linked to Meningitis Outbreak Cited for Filthy Conditions, Lack of Sterility

Filed October 24th, 2012 Laurie

The Massachusetts compounding pharmacy linked to an outbreak of fungal meningitis apparently failed to keep facilities clean, despite repeated requests to do so.

State officials said Tuesday that the New England Compounding Center (NECC) did not follow standard procedures to keep its facilities clean and its products sterile, according to The New York Times. In fact, NECC shipped some orders of the drug that spread the fungal meningitis before the final results of sterility testing came back. To date, 304 people have been sickened in the ongoing fungal meningitis outbreak that has impacted 17 states and led to 23 deaths.

NECC’s records indicate that the tests came back negative, but also suggested the center failed to sterilize the products for even the least amount of time it takes to ensure a clean product, said The New York Times. Dirty mats were seen just outside of the facility’s clean rooms, according to a report released Tuesday by the state’s Board of Registration in Pharmacy. Dirty hoods in the sterile compounding area and a leaking boiler next to a clean room were also observed, The New York Times noted.

Eric S. Kastango, president of Clinical IQ, a consulting firm that counsels compounding pharmacies, told The New York Times that he believes this catastrophe was entirely avoidable. “They failed to properly sterilize this medicine that had to be sterilized. That’s huge,” he said.

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