FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: DOH Communications
October 8, 2012(850) 245-4111
~State organizations share vital updates in ongoing investigation~
TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of Health (DOH) today announced further collaboration with numerous state health organizations to ensure that information is shared with their respective members in the health and medical communities. Information has been disseminated to 30 professional health care associations over the past several days.
"The Florida Society of Neurology (FSN) cannot overemphasize the importance of contacting your health care provider if you find that you may be at risk," said President of FSN Daniel Kantor, MD. "Fungal meningitis is a very serious condition and we stand ready to assist the Department of Health in securing the health and safety of Floridians."
The Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy is working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to voluntarily recall all products from NECC since January 2012. Any facility in receipt of these products should follow the specific recall directions for the products and maintain all of their shipping records, patient records and invoices.
"The Florida Medical Association is assisting the Department of Health's efforts to spread awareness by sharing this critical information with our 20,000 members across Florida and urging them to educate their patients," said FMA President Vincent DeGennaro, M.D. "We will continue to work with the DOH to ensure that our members are up to date on every development in order to protect patient safety."
"The Florida Orthopaedic Society (FOS) is pleased to work with the Department of Health to provide information to patients who are concerned with the outbreak of fungal meningitis," said FOS President Brian Ziegler, M.D. "We encourage patients who may have concerns to take advantage of the DOH hotline or consult their physician."
Since the beginning of the outbreak, DOH officials have teamed up with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) Division of Devices, Drugs and Cosmetics (DDC) to notify all facilities that have received the three lots of the contaminated methylprednisolone acetate used for epidural back injections from the New England Compounding Center's (NECC). The injections have been linked to fungal meningitis in 91 individuals throughout the country, with four confirmed cases in Florida.
"This is a very critical issue that we, the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association, will continue to collaborate with the Florida Department of Health in every effort possible to protect the patients of Florida. We want to make sure patients and physicians are fully aware of the fungal meningitis issue and know where to go to get help," said Florida Osteopathic Medical Association President Hal S. Pineless, DO, FACN. "We have posted information on our website and sent emails out across the country, and have asked the American Osteopathic Association to do the same."
In addition to the recall of the three lots, DOH and DDC staff have notified all Florida health care facilities and practitioners that all NECC products are the subject of a voluntary recall by the company. The state agencies advise all facilities and practitioners to immediately cease use of any NECC products and request that facilities adhere to the recall procedures as outlined by FDA.
The agencies will continue to update our websites at http://newsroom.doh.state.fl.us/ or www.myfloridalicense.com and the toll-free hotline is available at 1-866-523-7339 for those who may have additional questions.
To view FDA's product list as of Oct. 8, please visit: http://www.fda.gov/DRUGS/DRUGSAFETY/ucm322752.htm.
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