UPDATE 1-Ameridose plans voluntary shutdown amid meningitis outbreak

(Adds details on shutdown at Ameridose, Alaunus)

By Tim McLaughlin

BOSTON, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Two Boston-area pharmacy companies that share common ownership with the company at the center of a deadly U.S. meningitis outbreak plan to cease operations temporarily as a precautionary move, Massachusetts health officials said on Wednesday.

Ameridose LLC, a private company that mixes drugs for hospitals nationwide, is expected to shut down for a week. Alaunus Pharmaceutical also will temporarily cease distribution of all products made by Ameridose or any other company under shared ownership.

State regulators said at a press conference they have no evidence to suggest that Ameridose products have been compromised and a recall has not been requested. Healthcare providers may continue to use any medications they have in stock.

Massachusetts regulators, meanwhile, are requiring all state compounding pharmacies to sign a statement that they are following rules on altering medications.

Ameridose, based in Westborough, Massachusetts, is working to distance itself from New England Compounding Center, which distributed thousands of vials of a contaminated steroid that has been implicated in 12 deaths.

All three companies - Alaunus, Ameridose and NECC - are owned by Gregory Conigliaro, an engineer who invented a way to turn plastic into pothole filler, and his brother-in-law, Barry Cadden, a pharmacist in charge of pharmacy operations at the New England Compounding Center, according to records filed with Massachusetts authorities.

(Reporting By Tim McLaughlin; Additional reporting by Toni Clarke in Boston; Editing by Sandra Maler and Eric Walsh)

((tim.mclaughlin@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 617-856-4409))