LEWISTON — St. Mary's Regional Medical Center did business with the Massachusetts pharmacy implicated in a recent outbreak of fungal meningitis, but the hospital did not use the drugs that have been recalled.
The hospital has notified 15 patients given drugs from the New England Compounding Center, the Framingham, Mass., pharmacy at the center of the multi-state outbreak, though the medication they were given has not been recalled and has not been linked to illnesses.
More than two dozen Maine hospitals, including St. Mary's and Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, were identified this week as having received products from the New England Compounding Center since May. The Food and Drug Administration has recommended that patients who received products from the company be notified, even if those products have not been recalled.
CMMC has said it used products from the pharmacy but not those contaminated. Hospital officials are expected to notify patients who received products from the compounding pharmacy by the end of the week.
St. Mary's spokeswoman Jennifer Radel said 15 St. Mary's patients were given drugs from the pharmacy to help with chronic pain or neurological disorders, such as chronic spasms. The drugs were given through pumps that feed the medication directly into the sheath surrounding the spinal cord.
Although those drugs have not been linked to illness, St. Mary's last week called the 15 patients to tell them that their medication came from that pharmacy.
Radel said the hospital also stopped using the New England Compounding Center as soon as it heard about the recall. It now uses Bryce Rx Laboratories in Connecticut.
Health officials have said the injectable steroid involved in the outbreak was not used at all in Maine. However, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said 74 Mainers are being monitored because they were treated in New Hampshire with those steroids.
The outbreak has caused more than 300 illnesses and 24 deaths nationally, health officials said.