Source: Courier Post
The state Board of Pharmacy has fined Inspira Medical Center in Vineland for failing to remove all recalled medication linked to an outbreak of fungal meningitis in 2012, according to a consent order filed on June 29.
Four patients were injected with recalled vials of methylprednisolone acetate, or MPA, between Sept. 26 and Oct. 4, 2012, according to the filing. The contaminated steroid had been voluntarily recalled by the New England Compounding Center after the product was associated with an outbreak of fungal meningitis in 23 states, sickening 753 people, including 64 deaths.
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The compounding pharmacy alerted Inspira to the recall on Sept. 26, 2012, and the hospital removed 5mL vials of the tainted product. But the pharmacy staff did not check its stock of 1mL vials for the recalled lot numbers. For the next eight days, the smaller vials of recalled product remained on its shelves.
Inspira notified all four patients about their exposure and monitored them to ensure they did not develop symptoms, following the requirements of the state Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In February 2013, the health system improved its policies and procedures to comply with future recalls.
The hospital was fined $10,000 for the error, and charged $5,228 for the state’s investigation.
Paul Simon, a hospital spokesman, would not say how Inspira discovered its error or how it changed its policies.
“Inspira Health Network is dedicated to providing safe, quality care for every patient. As outlined in the consent order, the network fully cooperated with the NJ State Board of Pharmacy’s investigation to ensure our compliance with all regulations,” Simon said in an e-mailed statement.
In New Jersey, 51 people contracted fungal infections related to the contaminated injections; none died.