New Jersey patients file lawsuit for meningitis outbreak
Last week we wrote about the fungal meningitis outbreak that was traced to a compounding pharmacy on the East Coast. The pharmacy had shipped thousands of doses of an injectable steroid to 23 states that was contaminated by fungal meningitis. This form of meningitis is rare and not contagious, but so far more than 200 patients have been sickened by it and 15 people have died.
This week, two New Jersey patients filed personal injury lawsuits accusing the compounding pharmacy that made the drugs of not following standard safety practices to prevent the outbreak.
The patients that filed the lawsuits do not have confirmed cases of meningitis, but did receive the contaminated steroid injection.
Congress and the FDA have made similar allegations about the pharmacy and are conducting an investigation. Authorities have said that they are considering criminal charges against the facility. A recall has been issued for all medications made at that pharmacy and FDA officials say that they did find fungus in seized vials.
One of the key questions in the investigation is whether the compounding facility was operating beyond the bounds of its licensing, producing more volume and shipping to more locations that it was allowed to. Larger pharmacies are closely monitored by the FDA, but this one was apparently below the threshold. However, the magnitude of this outbreak suggests that their products reached a large number of people. As we noted in our last post, officials believe that up to 13,000 patients may have been exposed.
Source: NBC News, “First Meningitis Lawsuits Filed in NJ,” Oct. 16, 2012
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