The Free Press, Mankato, MN

October 8, 2012

Mankato pain clinic does not deal with pharmacy that distributed tainted steroids

By Brian Ojanpa
Free Press Staff Writer

MANKATO — Tainted steroid injections linked to fungal meningitis illnesses and deaths nationwide, including three who took ill in Minnesota, were not part of a Mankato pain-management facility’s treatment regimen.

On Monday clients of Advanced Pain Management were being told that the company does not deal with the Massachusetts pharmacy that distributed the steroid tied to the outbreak.

The physician-staffed Mankato pain treatment firm, part of a national chain, is reportedly the only facility in the Mankato area that administers the shots.

Calls to corporate headquarters were not returned Monday.

Nationwide, 105 fungal meningitis cases linked to the injections have been reported, and there have been eight deaths.

An estimated 950 Minnesota patients have been treated with the drug, according to state health department officials. Spokesman Buddy Ferguson said most of those have been contacted and been told to contact their health providers immediately if they fall ill.

At risk are those who received injections from the tainted batch between July 1 and Sept. 28.

The steroid products were produced by New England Compounding Center, which issued a recall of all its wares over the weekend.

The only Minnesota health care providers known to have used the implicated drug, methylpredisolone acetate, are in the Twin Cities metro area.

Health officials said it can take four to six weeks after getting a shot for symptoms to appear. They include severe fever, stiff neck and headache.

Ginny Bergerson of Janesville, who had two steroid shots at the Mankato facility, said her worries upon hearing the first news reports have been tempered after learning the local clinic has no ties with the New England pharmacy.