FDA warns of infections tied to Tennessee pharmacy

AP Health WriterMay 25, 2013 

WASHINGTON -- Government health officials are investigating cases involving patients who suffered complications after being injected with potentially contaminated medications made by a Tennessee specialty pharmacy.

The Food and Drug Administration said Friday the problems involve seven patients who received steroid injections from Main Street Family Pharmacy, a compounding pharmacy in Newbern, Tenn.

Tennessee health officials said the pharmacy has agreed to recall all of its sterile products, which are generally injectable prescription drugs. Officials from the FDA and the Tennessee Department of Health have been inspecting the Newbern pharmacy since Wednesday.

"The pharmacy staff and management have been cooperative," state regulators said in a news release.

An employee reached at Main Street Family Pharmacy on Friday could not immediately provide comment.

The injections contain methylprednisolone acetate, the same drug at the center of last year's deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis. More than 55 people have died and more than 740 others have been sickened after receiving contaminated injections from a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy. The steroids are typically used to treat pain.

Federal authorities have identified five cases in Illinois and two more in North Carolina. The Illinois patients received injections at the Logan Primary Care clinic in the town of Herrin between Jan. 3 and Feb. 21., according to Illinois health officials.

All five patients from Illinois had skin infections in the hips and buttocks while at least one patient in North Carolina appears to have a fungal infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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