The recent breakout of fungal meningitis, stemming from a contaminated shipment of steroid injections used to treat back and neck pain, has many people wary about their own treatment. Luckily for those receiving treatments at an Oklahoma neurosurgery center, there have not been any confirmed cases of meningitis in the state. While it is upsetting to hear about those who have been affected or who have perished as the result of these injections, one cannot simply avoid receiving treatment indefinitely out of fear.
Understanding Compounding Centers
One of the most important things to remember with regards to the 2012 meningitis outbreak is that the tainted prescriptions came from a place called the New England Compounding Center (NECC). This facility is different than your typical pharmaceutical manufacturer, in that they are not truly a drug manufacturer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not regulate compounding centers the same as they do with pharmaceutical companies; instead they fall under the jurisdiction of each individual state’s pharmacy board. Compounding centers are licensed facilities that combine existing medication formularies to meet the specific needs of an individual patient. What NECC was doing was violating the terms of their licensing, and mass-producing their pharmaceutical products, rather than producing products on a case-by-case basis as they should have.
Penalties stemming from this outbreak will surely be severe at the completion of the FDA’s investigation into the center. In fact, several states have already expressed their wishes of criminally charging the center or revoking their licensing for that state. Importance of Continuing Treatment
You cannot let your health be jeopardized due to your fear of another outbreak such as this. There are many reasons that you need to continue treatment, and follow your physicians plan of care. For one, not receiving pain management techniques, such as steroid injections, can result in you being unable to perform even the most simple of daily living tasks because it is too painful. Also, if you were injured in an accident of some kind, and are pursuing a lawsuit, going untreated for an extended period of time can be used as evidence of personal negligence against you. The opposing side may argue that you are better and that is why you stopped treatment or that if you returned to receiving treatment that it was the result of an accident you are personally responsible for.
It is understandable that a major health risk incident such as the meningitis outbreak would make you a little afraid for your own wellbeing, but you need to continue to be realistic. There has been no confirmed meningitis cases at any Oklahoma neurosurgery facility, so you can rest assured with peace of mind knowing that you are not at risk as you continue and comply with your treatments and plan of care.