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Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 3:30pm

Federal Investigators Search Pharmacy Linked To Meningitis Outbreak

The probe into how patients who were given steroid shots apparently contracted meningitis now includes criminal investigators. At least 15 deaths have been linked to the 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.

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