Steroid for Back Pain Recalled Due to Risk of Fungal Meningitis

The New England Compounding Center, a pharmacy that distributed a steroid for back pain, has issued a voluntary recall of all of its products, due to an outbreak of fungal meningitis.

The Food and Drug Administration had previously told health professionals not to use any products distributed by the center. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 105 cases of the rare form of fungal meningitis. The outbreak spans nine states and has killed at least eight people. The states with reported cases are: Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia.

The steroid linked to the outbreak had already been recalled, and health officials have been scrambling to notify anyone who may have received an injection of it.

On September 25, 2012, the New England Compounding Center, located in Framingham, Massachusetts, voluntarily recalled the following lots of methylprednisolone acetate (PF) 80mg/ml:

  • Methylprednisolone Acetate (PF) 80 mg/ml Injection, Lot #05212012@68, BUD 11/17/2012
  • Methylprednisolone Acetate (PF) 80 mg/ml Injection, Lot #06292012@26, BUD 12/26/2012
  • Methylprednisolone Acetate (PF) 80 mg/ml Injection, Lot #08102012@51, BUD 2/6/2013

On October 3, 2012, the compounding center ceased all production and initiated recall of all methylprednisolone acetate and other drug products prepared for intrathecal administration. A list of all recalled products related to the fungal meningitis outbreak can be found here.

It is not yet known exactly how many people may have been affected, though it could affect hundreds or even thousands of people who received the steroid injections for back pain from July to September.

The recalled products were distributed to clinics in the following states:

California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, and West Virginia.

Meningitis is caused by the inflammation of protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Fungal meningitis is not contagious as are its more common viral and bacterial counterparts.

If you or someone you know has received a steroid for back pain and has contracted fungal meningitis, please contact the experienced litigation attorneys at Suthers & Harper.

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