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Geisinger customer of tainted pharmacy


February 19. 2013 1:17PM
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PLAINS TWP. – Although Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center officials previously said the hospital does not utilize any products from a specialty pharmacy linked to a national fungal meningitis outbreak, the hospital appears on a pharmacy customer list that the government released on Monday.


The Food and Drug Administration listed the medical practices in each state that got any products since May that were later recalled, and how much each practice received.


They were all customers of New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass. A deadly outbreak of a rare fungal form of meningitis has been tied to steroid shots made by the company since May.


Last month, the company recalled the steroid shots that went to clinics in 23 states. That recall was later expanded to all its products, and the lists show they went to a longer list of states.


The outbreak has sickened nearly 300, including 23 who died. Each received a steroid shot, mostly for back pain.


In an Oct. 10 statement, Geisinger Wyoming Valley said the steroid shot “has never been used at GWV” or at the Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre pain clinic. “Additionally, GWV does not utilize any products from the New England Compounding Center,” the statement read.


On Monday, GWV spokesman Matthew Van Stone said in clarification that Geisinger “was no longer using any products from the compounding center” at the time the statement was given.


Van Stone said Geisinger Wyoming Valley did purchase 30 doses each of injectable vitamin K, caffeine injections and a topical pain relief agent known as LET, which stands for lidocaine/epinephrine/tetracaine.


Van Stone said six doses of the caffeine injections and all 30 doses of the vitamin K and LTE were used, “and Geisinger found no patients experiencing any complications from any of the medications purchased from NECC.” He said the unused caffeine injections were disposed of and that Geisinger ended its relationship with the NECC.


Wilkes-Barre General Hospital spokesman Jim McGuire said on Oct. 10 that the hospital stopped using and sequestered all NECC products and that patients who got steroid shots there did not receive the tainted medication.


Other local entities appearing on NECC’s customer list include Hazleton General Hospital, Hazleton Surgery Center, Northeastern Eye Institute.


The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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