The investigation into the origin of a deadly ten-state outbreak of fungal meningitis has now expanded to a second company in Massachusetts.
The meningitis is blamed on injections for back pain prepared by the New England Compounding Center, which did not fall under federal regulation. Now inspectors want to look at other pharmacies run by the same executives.
Of 17 thousand back-pain injections believed contaminated, two thousand went to St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, where the national outbreak first appeared.
Massachusetts officials say the company that prepared the vials was supposed to have a specific prescription for each dose. The New England Compounding Center has since shut down and recalled all medicines.
Now Madeleine Biondolillo (BEYOND-oh-lill-oh) with the Massachusetts Department of Health says a related company, Ameridose, will voluntarily shut down. Ameridose prepares oral medication for hospital pharmacies, not injections.
“The request for a temporary suspension of operations will allow of an on-sight investigation while continuing to safeguard public health.”
Asked whether the investigation into the contamination behind the meningitis outbreak could lead to criminal charges, Biondolillo said any penalties that need to be applied will be.
The outbreak, which is not contagious, has killed 12 people – including six in Tennessee – sickened 44 in this state, and put many more at risk.