The extended shutdown of a sister company of the pharmacy at the center of the deadly meningitis outbreak may exacerbate drug shortages for some hospitals and healthcare providers, health regulators said.

Ameridose, a drug manufacturer owned by the same people who own New England Compounding Center (NECC), has been closed since October 10 and will remain closed until November 5, while authorities complete an inspection of the plant as a precautionary measure - at least temporarily cutting off supplies to its customers.

NECC shipped thousands of potentially contaminated vials of a steroid used for injections to treat severe back pain. Some 14,000 patients may have been exposed to the medicine that has so far led to more than 280 cases of fungal meningitis and 23 deaths across 16 states.