Ameridose in Mass. to remain closed through year

BOSTON (AP) — A drug company with the same founders as a compounding pharmacy tied to a deadly meningitis outbreak on Friday agreed with state regulators to remain closed through the end of the year.

Ameridose first agreed to close for inspection in October after tainted steroids from its sister company, the New England Compounding Center, were linked to a fungal meningitis outbreak that has caused 32 deaths. The latest extension of that agreement would have expired next Monday.

"Ameridose will remain closed while the joint investigation by state and federal authorities continues into unsanitary conditions and questionable sterility practices at the facility," Alec Loftus, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Health, said in a statement Friday. "The FDA's preliminary findings on Ameridose are deeply troubling and mirror the findings of DPH investigators."

The Food and Drug Administration reported Monday that its monthlong inspection of Ameridose found numerous potential sources of contamination, including leaky ceilings and insects. Ameridose said it will work to address those issues. It had no comment on the closure extension.

Ameridose has laid off most workers and recalled its products, though none has been found to be contaminated. The company supplies hospitals nationwide with injectable drugs, including pain killers and blood thinners.

Loftus said the health department has been working with hospitals about potential shortages from the shutdown and will propose emergency regulations for the Public Health Council next week to allow hospitals to share safe compounded drugs.

The closure agreement also includes Alaunus Pharmaceutical, a wholesale distributer in Framingham that shares corporate ownership with Ameridose.

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