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Pharmacists Admit Sterile Drugs Frequently Contaminated

Months after the fungal meningitis infections started to surface, the deaths have continued to climb. The cause was contaminated pain shots and pharmacists say that they believe such a contamination and outbreak could happen again.

Approximately 13 percent of pharmacy technicians, pharmacist, and others that have responded to polls about the issue have said that they believe contamination had occurred in their own shops in 2012. They types of drugs they are referring to are the same steroids as those administered through injection that killed 45 and infected nearly 700. The steroid was made by New England Compounding Center and an inspection of their facility found mold and other contaminants, as well as the shop’s close proximity to a junk yard.

The president of the ISMP, which monitors the safety of medication, has said that they have been aware of the risks for quite some time. He has said that consumers are still at risk and they need to know that fact.

The fungal meningitis outbreak that raised many flags became one of the worst public health catastrophes in memory. Now, there are hundreds of individuals facing months or years of treatment.

It was the fungal meningitis outbreak that promoted the ISMP to find out if the proper management of high-risk compounded drugs was as widespread as they believed.

Unfortunately, they found that the answer is yes.

Pharmacists, pharmacy techs, nurses, and doctors were polled in November and December 2012. The poll had an emphasis on managing CSPs, which are made by compounding pharmacies or on-site.

Injectable drugs that are sterile are quite difficult to create because they require mixing drugs that are not sterile with other ingredients. These other ingredients must remain sterilized to ensure no mold, bacteria, or fungi makes its way into the final product.

The poll showed that there may be problems in a number of places. 11 percent of pharmacists and 29 percent of techs who participated believed that they had on-site contamination of CSPs in 2011. The poll did not specify whether or not it was believed the contamination was detected before the drugs were distributed or if those contaminated drugs were given to patients. It was also not clear as to whether or not the problems had been reported.

Fifty percent of pharmacists believed that no contamination had occurred on their watch, but only 38 percent of pharmacy techs felt that no contamination had occurred while they were on the job. However, the reason why most pharmacists felt that no contamination occurred on their watch was because many of the high-risk CSPs were not compounded on-site.

This poll is just one more indicator that there are serious problems that involve the contamination of sterile drugs. And even though the FDA recommended changes in the way compounding pharmacies are regulated, it is important for consumers to understand that injectable drugs that are touted as sterile are still risky.

If you have contracted meningitis after being exposed to an unsterile drug, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact a Minneapolis injury lawyer from TSR Injury today for your free consultation.

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