Massachusetts Creates New Regulations As Meningitis Death Rate Climbs

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News continues to break in regards to the fungal meningitis outbreak that may have put around 14,000 people at risk of an infection.  Now, we’ve learned that the death toll rises even as state regulators do their part to make sure such an incident doesn’t happen again.

The fungal meningitis outbreak is believed to have stemmed from contaminated steroids given to patients as a means of treating lower back pain.  The steroids hailed from the New England Compounding Center, a Massachusetts-based organization.  Because the ensuing investigation has centered around this compounder, Massachusetts officials are stepping up to make sure no such outbreak happens on their watch again.

The new regulations put in place at the Massachusetts state level stipulate that state officials now have the authority to monitor both the number of drugs made by compounders and their distribution methods.  These officials are also able to make a determination as to whether the compounder’s practices would put them more in line with falling under the regulatory authority of the FDA.  A failure to follow the new rules might lead the offending compounder to be quarantined or shut down.

Even with these regulations, though, it’s important to realize the number of lives that have already been taken by the outbreak.  The CDC now believes that 31 people have died and an additional 424 have sustained an infection.  One would hope that doctors have the situation under control and further loss of life can be avoided.