Drugs recalled in Idaho after meningitis outbreak

Drugs recalled in Idaho after meningitis outbreak


by Stephanie Zepelin

Bio | Email | Follow: @ktvbstephanie


Posted on October 17, 2012 at 11:02 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 22 at 8:19 PM

BOISE -- The number of deaths from a national fungal meningitis outbreak has grown to 19, and hundreds more are sick. The facility responsible for distributing the drug causing the illness, issued a voluntary recall of all of its products.

Nine medical facilities in Idaho got injectable drugs from New England Compounding Center. That is the company that is epidural steroid shots are associated with the meningitis outbreak.

Nearly 250 people across the country have fungal meningitis. Health officials are tracing it back to the New England Compounding Center, or NECC. That company makes a variety of injectable drugs, all of which they are being voluntarily recalled. Some of those drugs made it to nine different medical facilities in the Gem State. One of those facilities was Saint Alphonsus Boise.

"It's important to note that Saint Alphonsus never received any of the epidural steroid injections," said spokesperson Elizabeth Duncan.

However, Saint Alphonsus got other drugs from NECC. They pulled those from their shelves about two weeks ago.

"We don't anticipate having any issues with patients and we have not so far. And we feel it was essential and very, very helpful that we proactively removed any of the NECC injectables that we received," Duncan said.

St. Lukes in Boise also got drugs from NECC.

"They're not an actual permanent vendor of St. Luke's. We used them over a short time period from about July to October because we had shortages," said St. Luke's spokesperson, Ken Dey.

Dey said the drugs they got were for intravenous nutrition. They identified about 120 patients who got those drugs.
"We have done some initial analysis of some of the patients, looked at some of the blood work and we see no indication that there is any kind of infection," said Dey.

The only drug from NECC linked to fungal meningitis is the epidural steroid. But NECC says the voluntary recall is due to potential risk of contamination.

The nine Idaho providers listed in the new expanded recall did not receive the steroid from the first recall, but two others did: Walter Knox Memorial Hospital in Emmett and Pain Specialists of Idaho in Idaho Falls. The nine Idaho facilities that got other drugs from NECC are:
·    Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center (Boise)
·    St. Luke's Regional Medical Center (Boise)
·    Idaho Eye Care Center (Idaho Falls)
·    Walker Spine & Sports Specialists (Idaho Falls)
·    Idaho Eye Care Center (Pocatello)
·    St. Luke's Magic Valley Regional Medical Center (Twin Falls)
·    Ambulatory Surgery Center of Burley (Burley)
·    North Idaho Pain Center (Couer d'Alene)
·    Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine (Coeur d'Alene)

If you have concerns about fungal meningitis, you're asked to call your primary care physician. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this type of meningitis is not contagious.