Alexander Presses For Answers On Meningitis Outbreak

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) on Thursday sought answers on the current multi-state outbreak of meningitis from the Food and Drug Administration, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy, and the owners of the New England Compounding Center (NECC).

“This is a tragic situation that never should have happened. It is clear that compounding pharmacies need clearer regulatory supervision. Once the investigations are complete,” Senator Alexander said, “we will do what needs to be done to try to make sure something like this never happens again.”

Senator Alexander, along with a bipartisan group of senators serving on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, sent letters to the FDA, Massachusetts board, and NECC owners, seeking information related to the outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control reported that 70 Tennesseans have been infected with fungal meningitis and nine Tennesseans have died as a result of the multistate fungal meningitis outbreak among patients who received contaminated steroid injections distributed by Massachusetts-based NECC.

Senator Alexander earlier this month joined Senator Bob Corker (R-Tn.) in sending a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg asking for clarity regarding existing laws governing oversight of compounding pharmacies like NECC and information about any inspections of NECC and actions taken since the FDA warned the center in December 2006.

In Thursday’s letter to the FDA, the senators write that the committee has questions “about how large quantities of contaminated drugs were distributed throughout the country, particularly given that the investigation has now expanded to include two additional drug companies with the same ownership as NECC, Ameridose, LLC (Ameridose), and Alaunus, LLC (Alaunus).” 

The senators’ letter to the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy requests information “regarding the Board’s interactions with the pharmacy in question, in order to better understand the circumstances that led to the present outbreak,” the letter states.

In their letter to the NECC, the senators wrote: “We are seriously concerned about the current public health crisis involving hundreds of cases of fungal meningitis and other types of infections that has been linked to drugs produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC).  We are writing to request information that will enable us to better understand how one or more drugs compounded by NECC became contaminated with fungi before distribution throughout the country.”


Fleischmann Says GOP Focusing On Widening Lead In House; Taking Control Of Senate

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann said Monday that Republicans are focusing on a "Drive to 245" in the House and on taking control of the Senate. He said Republicans now have 234 House seats and "should pick up at least five or six - maybe more." In the Senate, he said, "We are going to gain seats - no question." He told the Pachyderm Club that if Republicans can gain the edge in ... (click for more)

Owsley Gets 12 And Half Years In Federal Prison After Arrest On String Of Robberies

Demarcus Anthony Owsley, who was arrested along with Shawn Lawaun Davis on a string of robberies, was sentenced on Monday to serve 12 and a half years in federal prison. Owsley, 24, appeared before Federal Judge Sandy Mattice. Shawn Lawaun Davis, 29, went to trial recently and was convicted. He faces later sentencing. Attorney Michael Keith Davis said Owsley should get ... (click for more)

ChattaData Is A Real Advance For The City

This past Tuesday, the city of Chattanooga's new performance management tool called ChattaData was unveiled. As the chairman of the City Council’s Budget & Finance Committee, I am excited to witness the city putting this important information online in a way that is accessible and transparent to all taxpayers. This approach shines light on how we as a city prioritize our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s ‘Hate The SEC’ Day

The boo birds came out on the fly on the ESPN website Sunday afternoon, this moments after the latest AP College Football “Top 25” included eight teams from the Southeastern Conference.   What set naysayers aglow was Mississippi State, after upsetting LSU 34-29 Saturday night, debuted on the list at No. 14 while Clemson, playing Florida State in an overtime thriller, got tossed ... (click for more)

Tennessee Gets Down To Final Preparations For Georgia

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.   – Tennessee’s first Southeastern Conference road trip to Georgia on Saturday (noon kickoff on the SEC Network) will be a homecoming for 17 Vols. That fact is not lost on those players, from freshmen wanting to make a first impression to those, like   A.J. Johnson , playing against the Bulldogs and in their home state for the final time. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Golf Team Second At Wolf Run Intercollegiate

The Chattanooga Mocs men’s golf team is tied for second after 18 holes at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate. The Mocs and Florida Gators each shot 295 over the opening 18 to trail Illinois by 11 at 285 at Wolf Run Golf Club. The day’s docket had a scheduled 36 holes. Afternoon storms sent teams from the course prior to finishing. The remaining holes will be completed starting at 9:30 ... (click for more)