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One NH patient shares his concerns

New Hampshire Sunday News

October 27. 2012 10:56PM

CONCORD - Ted McLam of Concord gets injections in his eyes to treat macular degeneration.

He started worrying about his medication, Avastin, last spring after he heard that fake, foreign versions of the drug were being shipped to providers. So he asked his eye doctor at the Eye Center of Concord to show him the packaging for the drug.

It came from New England Compounding Center.

McLam's doctor offered to treat him with a different medication; it would cost more but was shipped directly from the manufacturer.

McLam, who said he's in his 80s, opted for the more expensive drug.

'I value what's left in the bottle of time,' he said.

Still concerned, McLam said he called NECC and starting asking the man who answered the phone questions about how the drugs were made and inspected. 'He hung up.'

'That's when I got on the computer and looked up the FDA,' he said. He spoke with an agent from the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigation, who told him the agency was 'looking into' the Massachusetts company, McLam said.

Last week, McLam found out that both his eye doctors, in Concord and at the Florida clinic he goes to when he winters down there, are on the FDA's list of providers who received injectable medications shipped from NECC since May. And Avastin was on the list.

And even though the new drug he takes was not on the list, 'I'm still a little scared,' he said.

Eileen Serratore, administrator at the Eye Center of Concord, said her office has notified 329 patients who received injections of drugs compounded by NECC.

In some cases, that notification was done in person when patients came in for appointments; the rest were contacted by phone calls and letters.

Some patients who got letters have called the office with concerns, 'and we have the doctors speak directly to them,' Serratore said.

She said the physicians reassure patients there have been no confirmed infections linked to the drug they received. 'They are comforted,' she said.

Public Safety Health Concord