Will Princeton Go “Dallas Buyers Club” on Meningitis Problem?

Looks like they’re going to import unapproved drugs from abroad.

They’ve tried vaccines. They’ve tried an ad campaign. They’ve even tried special and utterly useless red solo cups. But after an eighth case of meningitis broke out on campus last week, Princeton might just go full Matthew McConaughey in the Dallas Buyers Club and import a drug that isn’t currently approved in the States.

[The] strain of the illness at Princeton — serogroup B — is not covered by the vaccine that is widely available in the United States and that protects against most strains of the disease. Another vaccine, Bexsero, does, but has been approved only by authorities in Europe and Australia. In response to the Princeton outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have received special permission from the Food and Drug Administration to import Bexsero.

The university’s trustees could decide as early as today whether to approve the drug or not. [New York Times]

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  • Sam Wang / Princeton Univ.

    The fact that the vaccine has not been licensed in the U.S. to date probably says more about the failings of the FDA licensure pathway and the reluctance of companies to license here first than about the vaccine itself. Vaccination does two things: it protects students, and it protects those they come in contact with — each other, and also the Princeton community. At this point, the right thing for students to do is to get the shot.