Meningitis outbreak not linked to Amarillo

The meningitis outbreak is causing fear around the country, but officials say people in the Panhandle are safe.

The disease was originally linked to steroid shots for back pain, made by the New England Compounding Center. However no cases have been reported in Amarillo, and the steroid shot in question was not shipped to any pharmacies in the Texas Panhandle. Amarillo compounders claim that when pharmacies grow too large, mistakes happen.

"Compounding was designed for a triad relationship," Robin Johnson, owner of King's Compounding Pharmacy said. "The pharmacist, the patient, and the physician, that's what we try to do."

So far 184 cases have been reported nationwide, fourteen of which resulting in death. Twelve states, including Texas, have reported the outbreak.

Johnson says the compounding pharmacy in question had ample opportunity to fix the issue, but didn't act.

"The FDA and state board of pharmacy in Massachusetts have inspected this pharmacy several times," Johnson said. "they have been given warning notices, warning letters that said cease and desist making multi dose vials preservative free. They did not cease and desist."

The preservative, Johnson says, prevents bacteria from forming in the vaccine vials, making the contents fresher longer.