Meningitis: Illinois patients may have received recalled drugs - FOX 32 News Chicago

Meningitis outbreak: Ill. patients may have received recalled drugs

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Several major Illinois hospitals are now listed as receiving recalled products from a Massachusetts pharmacy linked to an outbreak of fungal meningitis.

The Food and Drug Administration posted a list Monday, and fixed a technical glitch Wednesday. More than 130 Illinois clinics and hospitals are now listed.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Megan McCann said just under 600 patients are being notified they may have received injectable drugs made by the New England Compounding Center.

A total recall was underway Thursday.

Several former patients put calls into the hospital Thursday, expressing concern. Northwestern took a proactive stance on the issue the same day, sending out letters to 600 patients.

"Reputation is everything. Reputation matters," Northwestern's pharmacy director said. "For us to go out like this and be completely transparent and really go to our patients specifically… I think it's very admirable for our organization."

The letters explained that Northwestern Memorial never purchased any of the tainted medication linked to the meningitis outbreak, but they did buy some of the recalled injectable medication from the Massachusetts pharmacy in question.

Northwestern said they put out these letters to make people feel relief, not fear.

The patients include those who got care at Northwestern Memorial, Northwestern Lake Forest and two physicians groups. McCann said nobody received the drugs most suspected of contamination.

A Rush University Medical Center spokeswoman says the hospital ordered an antiseptic from the pharmacy, but only used it topically, posing "little or no risk."

Riverside Medical Center announced Thursday in that they have never used any of the recalled injectable products linked to the current meningitis outbreak. The Medical Center did identify and remove one item purchased from the New England Compounding Center (NECC), the company at the center of the outbreak. In total, only four patients received the topical application since August. Riverside has notified the physicians of these four individuals, who in turn are contacting the patients.

Other hospitals in the Chicago area that are on the list are Good Shepherd, St. Anthony, St. Margaret.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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