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NJ company recalls possibly tainted medicines

The state Health Department Thursday announced a statewide alert for a vast array of medicines and other products from a New Jersey compounding pharmacy, which makes infused and injectable drugs.

Med Prep Consulting Inc., in Tinton Falls, has voluntarily recalled dozens of products that may contain mold, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Administration of any intravenous product contaminated with mold could result in a fatal infection, FDA officials said Thursday.

To date, no injuries or illnesses have been reported.

"New York State is working with the FDA," said Jeffrey Hammond, spokesman for the state Department of Health.

Hammond said the department has alerted health care facilities and providers, "advising them of the recall and recommending that they immediately stop using any products compounded by the company."

The recall is in response to visible particulate contaminants observed in an intravenous solution delivered by the company to a Connecticut hospital.

Med Prep did not respond to phone inquiries Thursday.

Hospitals, health care facilities and health care providers in New York are being advised to heighten their vigilance of patients who might have used any Med Prep product.

Med Prep is the second compounding pharmacy in recent months to undergo a recall.

In October, the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., was cited by the FDA for selling tainted steroids used to control back pain. That company's steroids were sold to hospitals and medical practices throughout the country, including a few on Long Island.

The medication was tainted with a fungus that caused meningitis. Five people died. None of the deaths occurred on Long Island.

Hammond could not say Thursday where any of Med Prep's products might have been sold in New York.

Jeannene Strianse, director of pharmacy at Stony Brook University Hospital, said compounding pharmacies have a special role in health care.

"A compounding pharmacy is one that is specialized in manufacturing unique forms of drugs to meet particular patient needs and they usually will mix drugs that are not available commercially," Strianse said.

"So if you need something in an oral solution because you can't swallow pills, but it's not available commercially, they can do it."

She said Stony Brook Hospital does not use Med Prep's products.

The FDA noted on its website the company's products are used in a wide range of therapies for hospitalized inpatients, outpatients as well as people treated at physicians' offices.

None of the products, according to the FDA, are dispensed directly to patients from retail pharmacies or to those undergoing home care. All of the products are packaged in plastic infusion bags, plastic infusion devices, plastic syringes and glass vials, according to the FDA.

Some of the products include syringes for the drug Avastin, which is used to treat cancer and macular degeneration. Epinephrine, heparin, magnesium sulfate and about 90 other products are among those being recalled.

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