Pharmacies at the Genesis Health System and Trinity Regional Health System hospitals in the Quad-City region do not purchase products from the New England Compounding Center, a Massachusetts facility that distributed a contaminated batch of steroids being blamed for a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak, officials said today.

So far, 35 people in six states have contracted the fungal meningitis and five of them have died, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. All of those people had received steroid shots for back pain, an ailment that is commonly treated that way.

Concerned patients at the Genesis Pain Center in Davenport have raised questions about the source of steroids used at the facility, officials said. Kevin Cahill, the pharmacy director for Genesis, said the health system does not use the preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate implicated in the outbreak.

“Genesis Medical Center pharmacies only purchase from compounding pharmacies that use sterile products,” he said.

Vendors used in the area hospital pharmacies include PharMedium Inc. and Ameridose. “These companies follow the highest sterile compounding practices and standards,” Cahill added.

A compounding pharmacy is one that custom-mixes solutions, creams and other medications in doses or in forms that are not generally available commercially. Those pharmacies are not regulated as closely as drug manufacturers and their products are not subject to approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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