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Martinez pharmacy expands recall

Thursday, March 21, 2013 11:26 AM
Last updated Friday, March 22, 2013 1:03 AM
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A Martinez compounding pharmacy is recalling six months’ worth of sterile products at the urging of the Food and Drug Administration, but its owner says it is the result of an “isolated incident.”

Clinical Specialties Com­poun­ding Pharmacy issued a recall Wednes­­day of vials of Avas­­tin after reports of five patients in Georgia becoming infected after eye injections. The recall was widened Thurs­day to all sterile products produced by the pharmacy since Oct. 19, according to the FDA.

The FDA said the wider recall is because of “preliminary findings of practices at the site which raise concerns about a lack of sterility assurance.” Pharmacy owner Austin Gore said he did not know what the FDA was referring to because he got a report Wednes­­day that no contamination had been found and that the lone cases of infection were at a single doctor’s office.

Clinical Specialties, which has been creating custom drug products for doctors since 2005, has not changed its sterile techniques, Gore said, and the hood where the compounding is performed tested negative for contamination.

Avastin is a cancer drug, but for years, eye surgeons have been using it “off-label” to treat a form of macular degeneration that can lead to vision loss. Doc­tors ship a vial of Avas­tin to Clin­ical Spe­­cial­ties, which breaks it down into the much smaller doses needed to treat eye problems, Gore said.

He called the process a “sterile-to-sterile draw” and estimated the company had done about “150,000 of these unit-dose draws without incident.”

Clinical Specialties had been working with about a dozen physicians on the Avas­tin doses, Gore said. In November, a new physician in Georgia, who Gore said was not in Au­gus­ta but otherwise did not identify, began using its services and sent a vial of Avastin to the pharmacy Feb. 13 to be broken into doses. That physician is the one who reported the five eye infections, Gore said.

The FDA identified the infection as endophthalmitis, which can lead to permanent loss of vision.

There are a few places where contamination could occur, Gore said: in the original vial; through the compounding process; or in the physician’s office.

“We have not changed our procedure since 2005,” Gore said. “We don’t have any concerns about the Avastin vial. This was an isolated incident
to this particular doctor’s office.”

When asked whether the FDA asked the pharmacy to widen the recall, Gore said, “That would be correct.” Asked whether the FDA was there now, he said, “That would be correct.”

Late Thurs­day, the FDA said it was working with the Centers for Di­sease Control and Preven­tion and state health departments “to determine the scope of any contamination.” Gore said he had not heard of any
problems outside that one office.

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Sweet son
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Sweet son 03/21/13 - 05:30 pm
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Does the recall only include Avastin or would other

compounded drugs from this pharmacy be included? We changed compounding pharmacies lately and have not been satisfied with a product prepared by Clinical Specialties!

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