129 Minn. clinics received drugs linked to meningitis outbreak

Published 9:52 am Wednesday, October 17, 2012

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Health says 129 clinics in Minnesota received injectable drugs from a pharmacy linked to a meningitis outbreak.

The health department is contacting those clinics to make sure they are contacting their patients who were given the drugs.

Previously, health officials were focusing on contacting and evaluating those patients who received injections of a steroid suspected of being contaminated. In Minnesota, that amounted to about 985 patients who received spinal injections at Twin Cities pain clinics. Almost all of those patients have been contacted.

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The number of confirmed fungal meningitis cases in Minnesota linked to tainted steroids remains at five.


Investigators visit Mass. firm in meningitis case

Criminal investigators from the Food and Drug Administration have visited a Massachusetts company whose steroid medication has been linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak.

FDA spokesman Steven Immergut said Tuesday the agents’ work at the New England Compounding Center is part of the investigation into the outbreak, which has killed at least 15 people and sickened more than 200 others in 15 states. Nearly all the victims had received steroid injections for back pain.

Company attorney Paul Cirel says it’s “difficult to understand the purpose” of the FDA search. He says the company has been clear it would voluntarily provide anything investigators requested. He says the company will continue to cooperate.

Federal and state investigators say they’ve found fungus in more than 50 vials from the company but haven’t said whether they’ve pinpointed the contamination source.