Pharmacy investigated in fungal meningitis outbreak sent drugs to Augusta but hospitals say they are not a concern

The Massachusetts compounding pharmacy being investigated as part of a multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis sent products to two Augusta hospitals, an Augusta clinic and an Aiken clinic, but none of the drugs is among those suspected in the outbreak and none is raising concerns among those institutions.

The New England Compounding Center has voluntarily recalled all products, not just the steroid injections and the other few being investigated in the fungal meningitis outbreak.

The Food and Drug Admin­istration said it is advising patient notification only for those who received the compounding center’s drugs shipped after May 21 that were injectable or used for eye surgery, or a certain heart transplant drug.

Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics received a single dose of a pain medication that it had specifically made for one patient, and it is trying to contact that patient, said Tad Gomez, the administrative director of the pharmacy.

It wasn’t part of a huge lot like the steroid injections implicated in the fungal infection cases, he said. From the hospital’s standpoint, “I’m not that concerned about it,” Gomez said.

Neither the Augusta nor the Aiken clinics returned calls, but they did not receive drugs already implicated in the outbreak.

Trinity Hospital of Augusta received an anesthetic gel, but the FDA considers it a low risk and the hospital was not advised to contact patients, CEO Jason Studley said.

Georgia public health officials called Trinity and said they would not suggest patient notification if it were a topical cream, said Greg Shuford, the director of Trinity’s pharmacy.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that as of Wednesday, the outbreak had struck 317 patients, including a 66-year-old woman in Bibb County, Ga., who state health officials said is receiving care and has not been hospitalized. There have been 24 deaths, according to the CDC.

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