By: Lena H. Sun and Sarah Kliff
Posted: Oct. 22nd, 2012
Federal regulators are asking more than 1,200 hospitals, clinics and doctors nationwide to follow up with patients who may be at risk of infection because they received injectable medications made by the New England Compounding Center, a specialty pharmacy whose tainted steroid shots are linked to the growing fungal-meningitis outbreak.
In the Washington area, about 40 facilities, including several major hospitals and physician groups, are listed as having bought these injectable medications. Some said they were able to warn all affected patients about possible infection.
These medications are separate from the contaminated vials of the steroid drug — methylprednisolone acetate — that have been linked to the outbreak. About 14,000 people received injections of that medication. As of Monday, 294 people have received diagnoses of fungal meningitis linked to that tainted steroid, three others have joint infections, and 23 have died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Federal officials say they don’t know how many more people may be at risk.
In an update posted Monday on the Web site of the Food and Drug Administration, officials urged health-care providers to follow up with any patient who received an injectable medication from the NECC that was shipped on or after May 21. It gave a list of 1,279 health-care facilities that had purchased products from the NECC, and a 261-page list of those facilities and the products they ordered. The FDA said the lists were based on information provided by the Massachusetts company and may be incomplete or inaccurate.