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Company linked to outbreak suspended in Indiana

Outbreak now has spread to 19 states.
Posted on Nov. 5, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Massachusetts pharmaceutical company blamed for a multistate fungal meningitis outbreak is now banned from doing business in Indiana.

The Indiana Board of Pharmacy voted unanimously to suspend the license of the New England Compounding Center on Monday. The company produced tainted steroid injections linked to an infection outbreak that has now spread to 19 states. There have been 419 cases of the potentially deadly infection across the country, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.

The state pharmacy board’s decision came as a result of Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s decision to file an emergency petition in October against the New England Compounding Center. Monday’s 7-0 vote means that the company will no longer be able to sell its products in Indiana. The attorney general’s office plans to file a formal complaint with the board to determine disciplinary action against the company.

One more person was diagnosed with fungal meningitis in Indiana over the weekend, bringing the state’s total cases to 51, and another death was reported, bringing the state’s total to four, according to State Department of Health spokesman Ken Severson. Officials didn’t say where the fourth death occurred. Severson says officials can’t discuss individual cases due to privacy laws.

Dr. Dan Nafziger, Elkhart County’s health officer, said there have been 29 Elkhart County residents identified with the infection, and three deaths are linked to Elkhart County. The local health department also investigated five cases from outside the county, including the death of an out-of-state resident. All 34 of the people infected were linked to the OSMC Outpatient Surgery Center in Elkhart. At least seven lawsuits have been filed on behalf of OSMC patients against the New England Compounding Center and its sister companies. The clinic has not been named in any of the suits.




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