Bartlett hasn’t bought drugs from Mass. pharmacy linked to deadly meningitis cases in over a year

It’s been more than a year since Juneau’s Bartlett Regional Hospital has purchased drugs from the Massachusetts facility associated with a deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis.

The city-owned hospital put out a statement Friday after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned earlier this week that all injectable drugs from the New England Compounding Center produced after May 21st of this year are of “significant concern.”

Some pharmacies in Alaska have received drugs from the center since then, according to the state Department of Health and Social Services. But Bartlett is not among them.

Hospital Spokesman Jim Strader says Cardinal Health is the primary drug supplier for Bartlett’s pharmacy.

The fungal meningitis outbreak is now believed to be responsible for 21 deaths and 271 infections in 16 states. The cause has been determined to be contaminated steroid shots produced by the Massachusetts pharmacy. The FDA issued its warning about other injectable drugs out of “an abundance of caution.”

Meningitis is an infection of membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, severe headache, sensitivity to light, and changes in mental status.

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