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Unity Hospital Was Customer of Pharmacy Tied to Fungal Meningitis

The FDA said the pharmacy that started the outbreak shipped products to the hospital in Fridley—but not steroids known to cause the infection.

The pharmacy at the center of a national fungal meningitis outbreak shipped products to Unity Hospital in Fridley, according to the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

The products were not the injectible steroids that the FDA blames for causing the infections that has killed 24 people in 18 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The FDA said it was alerting all customers of the New England Compounding Center (NECC) of Framingham, MA out of "an abundance of caution."

It's the second Fridley facility identified as having received NECC products. Medical Advanced Pain Specialists (MAPS), next door to Unity Hospital, is one of six clinics in Minnesota that administered what turned out to be tainted NECC steroid treatment for back pain. MAPS also appears on the FDA list, which includes all clinics that were shipped NECC products since May  21, 2012.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced the Minnesota's eighth and ninth cases of fungal meningitis Thursday afternoon. Both are men, one in his 50s, the other in his 60s. The agency has not said where the patients live or which clinic gave them the steroid shots that caused the infection.

No one in Minnesota has died of the rare infection, which is different from the more common bacterial and viral forms of meningitis and cannot be spread person-to-person.

Here are the products shipped to Unity Hospital, according to the FDA:

PRODUCT FROM NECC COMPOUNDING PHARMACY SHIPPED TO UNITY HOSPITAL

QUANTITY DATE SHIPPED

NALBUPHINE (PF) 10MG/ML, 1ML VIAL

     25   Sept. 21 CAFFEINE SODIUM BENZOATE (PF) 250MG/ML, 2ML VIAL      10   Sept. 17 SULPHAN BLUE (PF) 1% INJECTABLE, 5ML VIAL      10   Sept. 5

NALBUPHINE (PF) 10MG/ML, 1ML VIAL

     25   July 20

Minnesota Department of Health spokesperson Doug Schultz said the agency had asked the more than 100 Minnesota clinics on the list to contact patients that might have received treatments with products from NECC.

Spokespersons at Allina Hospitals, which runs Unity, didn't immediately return a request for comment Thursday afternoon.

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