State Agencies Collaborate to Ensure Meningitis Medications are Available for Patient Care
October 22, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Department of Health (DOH) and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) today contacted eight manufacturers of anti-fungal medications to ensure that adequate supplies are available to treat individuals with fungal meningitis in Florida. The Departments sent letters to the manufacturers of Voriconazole and Amphotericin B, asking the companies to communicate closely with the states that have identified cases of fungal meningitis and to guard against attempts to hoard or artificially raise the price of medications in the event of a shortage.
"The Florida Department of Health will continue to collaborate with public and private partners to ensure that patients with fungal meningitis related to contaminated steroid injections can receive the recommended CDC medications," said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong.
“We will continue to work with our state and federal partners to respond to this outbreak and provide support to the impacted facilities throughout the state,” said DBPR Secretary Ken Lawson.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided interim treatment guidance for meningitis that references these two medications. Voriconazole is manufactured by Pfizer, Sandoz Inc., Mylan Laboratories Ltd. and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Amphotericin B is manufactured by Astella, Alkopharma USA, Sigma Tau and X Gen Pharmaceuticals. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also contacted the manufacturers of the drugs recommended in CDC treatment protocols, and the manufacturers have not reported any shortage of treatment supplies at this time.
The Departments have notified facilities in the state that may have medications from the New England Compounding Center (NECC) and have urged them to adhere to FDA recall procedures for those products. Additionally, DOH has notified patients who may have received a dose of the potentially contaminated steroid injections from the six identified facilities in Florida.
Any practitioner experiencing difficulty obtaining the medications necessary to treat patients affected by contaminated NECC products should contact the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) Drug Information Hotline, 1-888-463-6332, or email the CDER at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patients who are concerned about whether they received a medication from one of the contaminated NECC products and who have experienced any symptoms should contact their health care professional. Symptoms include fever, new or worsening headache, nausea, and/or symptoms consistent with a stroke. Some symptoms may be very mild in nature. Fungal meningitis is not contagious and occurs when the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord are infected with a fungus.
DOH and DBPR will continue to update their websites at http://newsroom.doh.state.fl.us/ or http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/. A toll-free hotline is also available at 1-866-523-7339 for those who may have additional questions.
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