Tainted steroids leads to deadly meningitis outbreak

by Charles Miller

A recent outbreak of meningitis has been linked to tainted steroid injections. So far, 35 people in six states – Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, North Carolina and Indiana – have contracted fungal meningitis, and five of them have died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All had received steroid shots for back pain, a highly common treatment. Clinics and medical centers are rushing to contact patients who may have received the apparently fungus-contaminated shots.

Each one of the patients had been injected with a preservative-free steroid called methylprednisolone acetate manufactured by New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham Massachusetts, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration and CDC officials. The FDA has issued a statement advising all health care practitioners to not to use any product from the company at this time until the situation is better understood.

The company, New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass., has now recalled three lots consisting of a total of 17,676 single-dose vials of the steroid, preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate, according to health official in Massachusetts.

An unknown number of those vials reached about 75 clinics and other facilities in 23 states between July and September 2012. For example, at one clinic in Evansville, Ind., more than 500 patients got shots from the suspect lots, officials said. At two clinics in Tennessee, more than 900 patients received shots from the suspect lots.

New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass is what is known as a “compounding pharmacy.” These businesses custom-mix solutions, creams and other medications in doses or in forms that generally aren’t commercially available.

Compounding pharmacies are not regulated as closely as drug manufacturers, and their products are not subject to FDA approval. However, the law in every state requires that such companies exercise ordinary care to provide reasonably safe products.

Pharmaceutical Liability Lawsuits Filed by Our Law Firm

If you or a loved one has experienced the tragedy of losing a family member as a result of a delinquent pharmacy, drug manufacturer, compounding company or health care provider, you and your family deserve answers to your questions. If your loss was as a result of a defective drug or perhaps a physician’s negligence, you may have the right to hold the negligent drug company, pharmacist or physician responsible.

Contact the law firm of Heygood, Orr & Pearson for a free consultation so we can help you determine the best way to protect your legal rights and interests. You can reach us by calling our toll-free hotline at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out our free case evaluation form.


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by Charles Miller

Charles Miller is a licensed attorney and a partner at Heygood, Orr & Pearson. Charles focuses his practice on areas of complex commercial litigation and personal injury litigation.