Nobody could ever have imagined that they would receive a life threatening condition from a vial of medication. The people who received vials of a steroid medication that had been prepared by the New England compounding center definitely didn’t expect this yet it is exactly what happened and with the death toll currently standing at 15 many people have been getting worried. The outbreak has so far been experienced in 14 states and there are already 205 cases that are being handled. The new cases came from the states of Florida, Indiana, New Hampshire and Tennessee.

Steroid tainted with a rare form of meningitis

Out of all the cases that have been handled to date, only two were not diagnosed with a type of fungal meningitis that is considered to be rare. Two patients were also found to have peripheral infections in the joints that were connected to the drug. The state of Tennessee has been hit hardest by this sudden outbreak and it has so far recorded 53 cases of which six were fatal. Michigan was next in line with 41 cases and three fatalities followed by Virginia with 34 cases and one fatality.

A major scandal for the company

In the revelation of the company’s role in this medical situation, the company in question is currently enduring a scandalous period. The company which is based in Massachusetts shipped vials which are suspected to have been tainted to 23 different states and 76 facilities. This has led to a massive investigation. The company which is at the core of this scandal has currently recalled the shipped products and has also suspended all its operations. The vials of steroids which number in the thousands have put 14000 people at risk of contracting meningitis.

A brief look into meningitis

Meningitis is when protective membranes that cover the spine and the brain become inflamed. This is caused by an infection. The infection can be bacterial, viral, fungal or as a result of a particular drug. In this case, the meningitis was caused by a fungal infection. Symptoms of the condition include nausea, headaches and fever. Fungal meningitis is however not contagious unlike the bacterial and viral kind.

This particular outbreak has brought up a lot of questions not just about the company in question but the pharmaceutical industry as a whole. NECC is a drug compounding company and drug compounding is not within the jurisdiction of the FDA like the manufacture of drugs. Drug compounding is simply the preparation of particular doses of medications which have been approved. The preparation of these doses is done with the guidance of a doctor to ensure that the drugs are prepared to particular patients’ needs. In an email that was sent to an NECC customer, NECC solicited orders in bulk without requiring proof of patient prescriptions as required. Administrative hearings are already being scheduled in Tennessee and New Hampshire pertaining to the possibility of violations while several other states are carrying out investigations.