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Willmar clinic had drugs from firm linked to meningitis outbreak

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WILLMAR, Minn. - As many as 50 local patients received eye injections with a drug from a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy that has been tied to a fungal meningitis outbreak.

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None have become sick so far, but as a precaution, the drug has been removed from the shelves at Affiliated Community Medical Centers, where it had been administered to 50 patients in the eye department, officials said Wednesday.

"We stopped using it when the initial scare came out," said Dr. David Newcomer, chief medical officer. "We took everything off the shelf at that point. We wanted to be proactive in doing what's best for patient care."

The Minnesota Department of Health said Tuesday that 129 clinics in Minnesota received injectable drugs from the New England Compounding Center, a specialty pharmacy that has been linked to more than 200 cases in 15 states of rare fungal meningitis, apparently from product contamination.

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