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AG seeks to suspend license of pharmaceutical maker linked to meningitis outbreak

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Attorney General Greg Zoeller on Friday asked the Indiana Pharmacy Board to suspend the license of a Massachusetts company whose contaminated steroid injections are linked to 43 cases of fungal meningitis and three deaths in the state.

The board will consider an emergency petition to suspend the nonresident pharmacy license of Framingham, Mass.-based New England Compounding Center at its meeting Nov. 5. According to a statement, a 90-day emergency suspension would allow the AG’s office time to file a formal license complaint.

The Indiana State Department of Health says more than 1,500 people in the state were exposed to the tainted medication through epidurals or joint injections. The contaminated batches of methylprednisolone acetate administered for back and joint pain have sickened 323 patients in at least 18 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It is tragically clear that this out-of-state pharmacy presents an immediate danger to public health and safety,” Zoeller said in a statement. “Our office will use all available resources to ensure Indiana patients are protected from any more harm and to pursue a formal administrative action against the company’s ability to operate in our state.” 

NECC recalled all of its products compounded at its Framingham facility earlier this month. Multiple lawsuits on behalf of victims have been filed in Indiana and in other state and federal courts.

Patients exposed in Indiana have been contacted by their health care provider, according to the AG’s office.

“These are uncharted waters, but we are learning more about these infections every day,” said Dr. Joan Duwve, chief medical officer at the state health department. “The State Health Department has been working diligently with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assist Indiana medical providers with the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of infections related to use of these contaminated products. We will continue to do so until this outbreak is resolved.”

The Indiana Pharmacy Board will consider the emergency license suspension at its meeting beginning at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 5 in Room W064 of Indiana Government Center South, 402 W. Washington St., Indianapolis.

 

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