Meningitis scare could worsen drug shortage

U.S. health regulators warn that shuttering pharmacies related to the growing meningitis outbreak may worsen drug shortages for some hospitals and providers, Reuters reported. The industry already is witnessing one of the worst drug shortages in American history.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the production shutdown of Ameridose could affect the "supplies of certain drugs for some healthcare systems," the agency announced Saturday. Before lifting the voluntary shutdown, the FDA will work with the Massachusetts-based pharmacy to ensure drug safety.

Meanwhile, the industry is struggling with a short supply of anesthesiology drugs, in particular, clinicians said last week at the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) meeting. To circumvent the shortages, anesthesiologists are turning to compounding pharmacies, MedPage Today reported.

"Compounding pharmacies have fit a niche, in terms of getting medications to patients," ASA communications chair John Dombrowski told MedPage.

However, the growing meningitis outbreak have hospitals rethinking their use of compounding pharmacies. The practice faces increased scrutiny after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned patients about potentially contaminated steroids produced at a pharmaceutical compounding center in Massachusetts.

Clinicians should look into compounding pharmacies before purchasing any medications, according instruction at the ASA meeting, MedPage noted.

For more:
- read the Reuters article
- here's the FDA statement
- read the MedPage Today article