Veterans Hospitals Used Tainted Triad Wipes

Despite a fairly large U.S. recall of <"">contaminated alcohol prep pads, about 25 percent of Veterans Health Administration (VA) medical centers and its outpatient mail order pharmacy used the defective products that are at the center of a number of lawsuits and which are being blamed for at least one death. According to MSNBC, U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (Democrat-Colorado) is seeking answers from the agency.

Senator Bennet wrote to the under secretary for health at the VA, Dr. Robert A. Petzel, asking for an explanation about the impact on our nations’ veterans concerning the tainted Triad wipes. “Were any veterans, in Colorado or other states across the country, affected or injured by these products?” Bennet wrote, quoted MSNBC. The tainted wipes were manufactured by the Triad Group and H&P Industries Inc. and were involved in massive recalls over various bacterial contamination.

Previously Bennet and Senator Lamar Alexander (Republican-Tennessee) asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about how it handled the issues surrounding the contamination at the plant where the tainted wipes were produced, said MSNBC.

Triad Group issued several large-scale recalls for tainted alcohol prep pads, alcohol swabs, alcohol swabsticks, and other products, sold under various brand names because of potential contamination with the bacteria Bacillus cereus. H&P Industries also issued a Povidine Iodine Prep Pad recall because of concerns that the pads could be contaminated with Elizabethkingia meningoseptica, a type of bacteria associated with flesh eating bacteria disease, meningitis in newborn infants, and pneumonia in patients on ventilators. U.S. Marshalls seized $6 million worth of medical products from H&P Industries Inc., which does business as Triad Group, at the behest of the FDA. The raid was prompted by the failure of H&P Industries to comply with the FDA’s current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) regulations.

Until now, however, no information about which VA hospitals used the tainted wipes is available; Triad refuses to provide a full list of hospitals involved; and the FDA said that, because information is proprietary, it cannot issue details, said MSNBC. Of the 152 major VA medical centers, 38 in 30 states and Washington DC removed the recalled wipes and other affected products, officials with the VA told; 1,500 boxes of products were removed from the VA’s Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacy.

According to MSNBC, the original recall has been broadened a massive 40 times since January and it took the VA three months after the first recall to advise patients about the prep pad problem. One patient said he only just received his letter, but has been using the contaminated products for years. Another patient developed infections caused by E. coli and staphylococcus bacteria, which were not among the pathogens involved in legal actions surrounding the tainted products. As well as three personal injury lawsuits, H&P is being sued by Medikmark Inc., which purchased medical products and alleges that H&P was aware, or should have been aware, that it was selling contaminated products.

This is not the only debacle at the VA in the past year. We have also wrote about VA centers in three cities accused of reusing colonoscopy and endoscopy equipment without proper sanitation; dozens have since tested positive for blood borne pathogens. The VA also sent erroneous letters to veterans with potential neurological diagnoses telling them they were diagnosed with a debilitating, deadly disease when they weren’t. Hundreds of veterans received the distressing letters. The prior June, the prostate brachytherapy program at Philadelphia’s VA Medical Center was shut down after scores of veterans were found to have received incorrect radiation doses over a six-year period. The Washington Times previously reported that the VA Department’s agency chief Eric Shinseki acknowledged at a Congressional panel that the Department made serious safety errors at some of its centers and was lax in conducting necessary educational and monetary services to thousands of veterans deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and who reported suffering from symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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