NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/NewsChannel 5) - The Tennessee Board of Pharmacy has effectively revoked the license of the pharmacy that distributed injectable steroids suspected of causing a deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis.
In an emergency meeting on Monday, the board voted 7-0 to accept the voluntary surrender of the New England Compounding Center's license.
Department of Health attorney John Smith said the action has the same effect as a revocation and is understood to be a formal disciplinary action.
Board members questioned why action was not taken more quickly. They also expressed concern that the pharmacist in charge of the facility is still licensed in Tennessee.
Smith said the pharmacist, Barry Cadden, has also agreed to surrender his license. Smith expects to call another emergency meeting once the details of that agreement are worked out.
No new cases were reported in Tennessee on Monday. There are 54 cases in the state, with six deaths. Nationally, 214 cases have been reported in 15 states, up from 205 Sunday. Fifteen people have died.
All of the Tennessee patients received epidural steroid injections provided at three facilities in Tennessee: PCA Pain Center in Oak Ridge, Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center in Nashville and the Specialty Surgery Center in Crossville.
The outbreak of fungal meningitis has been linked to steroid shots for back pain. Fifteen people have died and 205 people have been infected in fifteen states. The medication has been recalled.
In a release Monday, the FDA said, as a result of the ongoing investigation into the New England Compound Center, they have identified a patient with possible meningitis associated with triamcinolone acetonide, another type of steroid injectable product made by the company.
To date, the cases of meningitis have been associated with methylprednisolone acetate, another similar steroid injectable product.
Also, two transplant patients with Aspergillus fumigatus infection who were administered NECC cardioplegic solution during surgery have been reported. The FDA said in a release that the investifation is ongoing, so other explanations could be possible. Cardioplegic solution is used to induce cardiac muscle paralysis during open heart surgery to prevent injury to the heart.
NECC voluntarily recalled all of their products shortly after the outbreak began in September.
(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report.)