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Federal Investigators Search Pharmacy Linked To Meningitis Outbreak

"The top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts on Tuesday said federal agents raided the New England Compounding Center, the pharmacy linked to a meningitis outbreak that has killed 15 people and sickened more than 200 others," Reuters writes.

The Boston Globe says the news is significant because "the probe of the Framingham [Mass.] compounding pharmacy at the center of a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak has expanded to include criminal investigators. Agents from the US Food and Drug Administration were at the offices of New England Compounding Center in Framingham Tuesday afternoon."

And the Boston Herald says "investigators with the Food and Drug Administration and Framingham Police descended on the New England Compounding Center."

The Associated Press, as our colleagues at WBUR note, adds that "a spokesman for the New England Compounding Center confirms that investigators were at the Framingham company Tuesday but he had no further comment."

As NPR's Richard Knox has reported, "a steroid called methylprednisolone made by the New England Compounding Center has been linked to 214 fungal infections and 15 deaths across the country." The FD has also begun to look into the case of a patient who received a different steroid made by the same company and also contracted meningitis. That steriod is called triamcinolone acetonide.

Update at 7:40 p.m. ET. Criminal Investigation Opened.

NPR's Joe Neel writes that:

"The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into the New England Compounding Center outside Boston that has been linked to more than 200 cases of fungal meningitis and 15 deaths. Federal agents were seen entering the company's offices this afternoon. The move came as Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., asked Justice to investigate whether the facility was operating properly under federal law — including whether it was illegally shipping controlled substances to customers. The company has recalled all of its products."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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