Some medications in new recall were distributed in New Hampshire
CONCORD - The state public health division has confirmed that some of the medications recalled by a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy this week were shipped to physicians and patients in New Hampshire.
The latest recall, announced Monday, involves all sterile compounds made and distributed by Pallimed Solutions Inc. of Woburn, Mass., from Jan. 1 to March 22.
Christine Adamski, R.N., chief of the bureau of infectious disease control at the state Division of Public Health, said, "We know some products did come into New Hampshire, but we don't know specifically which of the products that have been recalled.
"We expect to get more information over the next couple of days," she said.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the federal Food and Drug Administration said the voluntary recall came after inspectors from that agency and the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy found "visible particulates (filaments) ... in vials of several different sterile compounded products" at Pallimed's facility.
The Massachusetts board subsequently issued a cease-and-desist order for all sterile compounding operations at the company, although Pallimed is allowed to continue compounding and sales of non-sterile products, according to the company's website.
Adamski said there is no evidence that any drugs that did come here were in fact contaminated, and there have been no reports of illness associated with this latest recall.
She said the public health division is working closely with the New Hampshire Board of Pharmacy to find out which doctors and patients may have used the recalled products.
Pallimed has listed two dozen products included in the recall, including ophthalmic preparations, vitamin injections, testosterone replacement therapy and drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction. The recall notice states that all products were packaged in glass vials and shipped directly to patients and/or physician's offices in as many as 21 states, including New Hampshire.
The FDA and state pharmacy boards are looking more closely at compounding pharmacies after last year's deadly, multi-state outbreak of fungal infections, linked to contaminated injectable medications made and distributed by New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass.
That outbreak is blamed for 730 cases of illness and 51 deaths nationwide. There were 14 cases of fungal infections reported in New Hampshire, including nine patients who developed meningitis; health officials continue to monitor more than 750 patients here who received injectable medications made by NECC for possible illness.
Because of what happened in the NECC case, Adamski said, health officials are taking extra precautions when any contamination is suspected.
"We never take our guard down with this," she said. "There's a very low threshold with issuing a cease-and-desist order, and then for the pharmacy to recall the product."
Of most concern are medications that are injected, Adamski said, noting the Pallimed recall list does include some injectable products.
"That's where it gets important for us to understand the specific products and their uses," she said. "And that helps identify, certainly, the potential for patient harm or illness."