Beebe Medical Center Moved Quickly to Protect Patients from Potentially Dangerous DrugsPosted: October 22, 2012
An expanded recall of many injectable products compounded by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) of Framingham, MA, is impacting healthcare providers across the nation. Beebe Medical Center is among the many in Delaware.
It is the latest and largest recall in a series of announcements warning of the effects of contaminated NECC products. Nearly two weeks ago, the media began reporting that patients who had received a contaminated steroid product administered as an epidural injection began suffering from fungal meningitis. As of Oct. 21, NECC contaminated injectable steroid product – preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate – had been implicated in the infection of 285 people in 16 states, and 23 deaths have been attributed to it. The product was recalled. The form of meningitis is not contagious. Updated case numbers across the United States can be found on this designated website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/meningitis-map.htm
Beebe Medical Center never carried the NECC methylprednisolone acetate product, and never administered it to its patients.
The integrity and safety of the rest of NECC injectable products soon came under scrutiny by the CDC and of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Even though no fungal meningitis cases have been associated to the other NECC products, The CDC has advised that they all are withdrawn.
Beebe Medical Center’s pharmacy was among providers in Delaware and across the nation to carry some of the additional NECC products. On October 5, as the CDC and FDA began scrutinizing all of NECC products, Beebe Medical Center began taking immediate action. Beebe Medical Center Pharmacy proactively pulled NECC products from its shelves, even before the CDC advised that all NECC products be withdrawn.
Pharmacy Director Sam Roberts, RPh., MS, and Marcy Jack, JD, BSN, CPHRM, Director of Risk Management for Beebe Medical Center, formed a team to address how to quickly notify patients who had received the products, as well as their physicians.
Beginning on Tuesday, October 16, Beebe Medical Center began identifying the patients that had received any NECC products since May 21, 2012, the time designated as clinically relevant. Beebe Medical Center identified 143 patients and has begun contacting them and their physicians. Sixty percent of patients have been successfully contacted by telephone already and phone calls are continuing. Patients will also receive written notice.
“Patient safety is foremost on our minds,” says Jack. “Our team is acting quickly to make sure that we notify patients who could potentially be at risk.”
The Delaware Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported Friday, October 19, that no illnesses in Delaware have been linked to NECC products. Please visit the Delaware DHHS website for the latest announcements. It is: http://dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/pressreleases/2012/steroidinjections-10192012.html
Information also can be obtained on the CDC Frequently Asked Questions website on the meningitis outbreak for patients – http://www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/patients/faq-meningitis-outbreak-patients.html
Beebe Medical Center is a not-for-profit community medical center with a charitable mission to encourage healthy living, prevent illness, and restore optimal health with the people residing, working, or visiting in the communities we serve. For more information, please visit us online at www.beebemed.org