Meningitis Pharmacy Update: Live Bird, Bugs Found in Sister Facility That Packaged Sterile Drugs

<a href="">Orapan</a>/Shutterstock

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Water dripping from leaks, bugs, and a flying bird are just a few of the troubling things discovered in an FDA inspection of Ameridose’s sterile drug manufacturing facility, which has been shut down since October 10 after its sister company, the New England Compounding Center (NECC), was implicated in the meningistis outbreak that has since killed 32 people. (Read our explainer to get up to speed on the outbreak.) Ameridose and NECC are both owned by the members of the Conigliaro familiy of Massachusetts.

Investigations in the wake of the meningistis outbreak revealed sterility problems at the NECC facility that made the tainted steroid injections. As scrutiny turned to its larger sister company, Ameridose followed NECC in shutting down production and recalling all of its products.

The FDA’s inspection report, released last Monday, describes thick brown, orange, and green residues on equipment used to make sterile drugs. Insects and even a bird were found hanging around in storage rooms. Despite leaks dripping into the clean room, the inspectors noted, “we observed totes placed in the location of the penetrating leaks containing water. There was no documented evidence that the leaks were permanently corrected.” 

In addition, the FDA says Ameridose failed to investigate doctor and nurse complaints that suggested their products did not work correctly. A separate FDA investigation four years earlier had also found quality control issues at Ameridose. In 2008, the company had to recall a misformulated painkiller that was too potent

Unsurprisingly, the meningistis outbreak hasn’t been too good for business. Ameridose laid off 650 workers, the Boston Globe reported last week, and another 140 workers at its affiliated marketing company, Medical Sales Management, were also let go. 

Here is the full report of the FDA inspection. 




Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend