A 47 year-old Salem (near Roanoke), Virginia man's death on September 18 was recently confirmed to have been related to contaminated steroid solution obtained from the New England Compounding Center (NECC) near Boston, Massachusetts. The man leaves a wife of 25 years and two children. He had a pinched nerve and sought relief from an epidural steroid injection, a common pain modality offered to thousands of people daily for neck and back pain relief.
Currently, in Virginia there are 33 suspected meningitis cases related to the NECC's contaminated steroids, including 3 West Virginia patients who sought treatment in Virginia. Virginia officials believe there are approximately 689 Virginia patients who may have received contaminated steroid injections. Federal officials believe they have located and contacted about 90 percent of the almost 14,000 people who received tainted steroids for common neck and back pain relief.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nationally 170 people have been confirmed as being infected and 14 have died directly because of the contaminated steroid supply. For more information from the CDC, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/meningitis.html
For information about symptoms of meningitis, visit: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/meningitis/DS00118/DSECTION=symptoms
Also of interest regaring this tragic outbreak and outrageous conduct by NECC, CNN reported recently that, incredibly, NECC shares a building and parking lot with a recycling center and garbage compactor. "CNN observed a medical waste truck making a drop, as well as piles of garbage, boxes, and old mattresses on the back side of the pharmacy compound building."
The pharmaceutical compounding industry is NOT regulated by the federal government – the FDA. Perhaps it should be, or perhaps this is just one isolated incident of egregious conduct by a company. Hopefully, after a thorough investigation by state and federal authorities, light will be shed on exactly how something like this could happen, and how it can be prevented from happening again.