Meningitis Outbreak From Compounding Center
If you have been watching the headlines recently, you have likely heard about
the Meningitis outbreak that may have been linked to steroid shots at the New England Compounding Center. During today’s “The Doctors” television show, Dr. Travis Stork spoke about this Meningitis outbreak and what you should be aware of.
Melanie Woodrow, investigative reporter for The Doctors headed out to California to visit a compounding pharmacy to take a deeper look at how this outbreak could have happened in the first place.
Compounding centers do not have to follow the same government regulations as what pharmaceutical manufacturers do. Charles Leiter from Leiter’s Compounding Pharmacy, explained that unlike manufacturers they make one drug for one patient rather than producing them commercially. However, New England Compounding went outside of regular compounding practices and did nearly 18,000 doses in just three lots
Testing and Regulation For Compound Pharmacies
The FDA regulates prescription drug “manufacturers” but compound pharmacies don’t have to follow the strict regulations that the FDA imposes. Compounding pharmacies are regulated on a statewide level by pharmacy boards. This means that the FDA doesn’t oversee the safety or effectiveness of compounded drugs.
A sample of drugs that are compounded should be sent to an independent lab for testing before they are administered to patients. Charles Leiter wonders if the New England Compounding pharmacy had their drugs tested at all. Leiter said that in the past his company would make epidural steroid injections but discontinued doing so because the associated dangers were too high. He said the patients would be at risk for contracting meningitis or have a stroke. Either case scenerio could prove to be deadly.
Ask Your Doctor If Your Injections Are From a Compounding Center or Manufacturer
Charles Leiter further explained that steroid shots are not the problematic issue here. It is the risk that the steroid shots could be dirty. He said that when he had to get steroid injections he asked to know if the steroid shots were compounded or manufactured.
Dr. Stork said that you should ask your doctors if their drugs came from a compounding center or manufacturer and if they were tested for sterility. Dr.’s should be asking these questions themselves to diminish the chances of preventable outbreaks.
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