By: DR. MARK KESTNER, Post Columnist
Posted: Sunday, June 2, 2013 12:00 am
You may recall the horrifying news that spread across the country last year when it was discovered that several batches of injectable steroid drugs intended to treat severe pain turned out to be contaminated with fungus.
Unfortunately, more than 50 people died and hundreds will have severe health challenges for the rest of their lives.
Those particular bad batches of the steroid came from a Massachusetts-based compounding pharmacy, but were distributed to clinics across the country, including Tennessee.
There is now a similar situation developing in Newbern, Tenn.
That story involves methylprednisolone acetate (MPA), the same drug at the center of last year’s deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis.
To date, although there have been at least seven reported cases of illness possibly related to the tainted drugs from the Tennessee pharmacy, no reports of meningitis have been reported.
The drug was manufactured by a company called Main Street Family Pharmacy LLC. The pharmacy just received approval for manufacture, wholesale and distribution in 2010. They found themselves on probation after an inspection in 2012.
So far it is known that the tainted drugs were shipped to 13 states including: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
The apparent contamination is being investigated by state and federal authorities. The FDA has recommended that all clinics immediately stop using any sterile products distributed by Main Street until their investigation reveals the extent of the problem.
To further complicate the matter, it is also being claimed that some of the adverse reactions were caused by the products being used after their use-by date.
This could implicate the actual health care providers for not being vigilant in observing expiration dates of their products or possibly intentionally ignoring the date.
Even before the recent cases involving contaminated steroid products, steroid injections for spinal pain have been the subject of investigations by the FDA.