Press-Republican

Local News

October 11, 2012

Local facilities didn't use medicine targeted as source of meningitis outbreak

PLATTSBURGH — Regional health-care facilities have not used the pain medication targeted in the recent meningitis outbreak across the nation.

As of Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control had confirmed 111 cases of meningitis in 10 states, including 11 total deaths in Tennessee, Virginia, Michigan and Maryland.

The CDC has linked those confirmed cases to an injectable steroid manufactured by New England Manufacturing Compound, located in Framingham, Mass.

“Adirondack Medical Center does not use and has never distributed the injectable steroid currently linked to the meningitis outbreak being reported in the national media,” said AMC spokesperson Joe Riccio in a press release issued by the Saranac Lake hospital.

“AMC has never purchased nor distributed any products from this drug maker.”

NOT SUBJECT TO FDA

Michael Harvey, manager of the CVPH Pharmacy in Plattsburgh also noted that the Medical Center has not purchased any injectable medications from New England Manufacturing.

“We do not buy injectables from anyone that uses compounds from raw materials as a matter of policy,” said Thom Gosrich, director of the CVPH Pharmacy.

New England Manufacturing Compound is referred to as a “specialty pharmacy” that combines medications to meet a client’s needs.

“The problem with specialty pharmacies is that they are not subject to FDA regulations,” said Dr. Thierry Bonnabesse, founder of Champlain Spine and Pain Management on Tom Miller Road in Plattsburgh. “We buy exclusively from the manufacturer and have not purchased any products from this company.”

Elizabethtown Community Hospital has not bought products from the Framingham facility either, said spokesperson Jane Hooper.

 “The hospital does not perform epidural injections,” said Grant Martin, ECH director of pharmacy, “and the compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts that has been identified as the source is not the hospital’s supplier of medications.”

LOCAL NOT LIKELY

New England Manufacturing typically distributes medicines to pain-management centers as opposed to hospitals, Martin noted.

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