NECC failed to report 2011 Colo. disciplinary action

Health officials in Tennessee allege that the New England Compounding Center failed to report a formal disciplinary action in Colorado more than a year prior to the current outbreak of fungal meningitis.

Woody McMillin, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Health, alleged on Friday that the owners of the Massachusetts drug compounding firm failed to tell the state's pharmacy board that it was the subject of an April 15, 2011, cease and desist order in Colorado, the Tennessean reports.

NECC has been blamed for the deaths of 13 patients in Tennessee and 33 patients throughout the nation as a result of a spinal steroid tainted with fungal meningitis.

"The way the cease-and-desist order is written, our staff believes this formal discipline should have been reported to us," McMillin said, according to the Tennessean.

McMillin said that if the order was reported, the state's health department would have opened a complaint against NECC and recommended disciplinary action before the state's Pharmacy Board.

In Colorado, NECC received the order for sending compounded drugs into the state without a patient specific prescription, a requirement of state and federal law.

There were no cases of fungal meningitis in the state of Colorado as of the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report on November 14. Since the start of the outbreak, however, 480 cases of fungal meningitis were reported in 19 states, including 82 cases in Tennessee, as of November 14, the Tennessean reports.