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Local Pharmacist Fears Backlash After Meningitis Outbreak

By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV
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WALTHAM (CBS) – Steve Bernardi, a pharmacist and owner of Johnson Compounding and Wellness Center, says he is extremely upset about the deaths connected to the meningitis outbreak and the medication from the New England Compounding Center. He also fears that this will have a backlash against his business.

Bernardi invited us in to see his facility in Waltham, and showed us how his pharmacists and technicians make medication that is not commercially available for patients.

Johnson Compounding will only make medications on a patient by patient basis, but says there is demand for mass production. He says he doesn’t know how much New England Compounding Center makes.

Bernardi says, “We get calls to do the same thing but we don’t do it.” How come? Bernardi says, “Because it’s illegal, as far as we know. “

Federal investigators say it is still too early to determine how the fungus got into the medication. Bernardi says there are all kinds of possibilities, from having bacteria in bottles to an employee mishandling the drugs.

He  says, “I think in mass production, that’s where you invite more of a problem.”

Bernardi advises people to ask where their medication is coming from, and says, “Don’t lose faith in compounding because it’s effective when done appropriately.”

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