N.J. Patients File 15 Lawsuits Over Meningitis Outbreak


Posted on 24th November 2012 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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The lawsuits have started flying from the lethal fungal meningitis outbreak that reached across the nation, killing 34 people and sickening countless others.

In New Jersey alone, 15 suits have been filed by patients who developed meningitis or were exposed to it after receiving shots of a tainted steroid produced by New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Massachusetts, according to The Record of North Jersey.


The litigation has been filed in Superior Court in Cumberland County, and names NECC as a defendant, along with assorted doctors and medical facilities that administered the steroid, which is used to quell pain.

The patients who have sued include Jose Ramos, 35, of Millville, N.J., according to The Record. He had his steroid injection in August, and came down with headaches, a stiff neck and “visual disturbances,” the paper reported. According to his suit, Ramos will now have to continue taking anti-fungal medication and have blood tests to check his liver.

The contaminated steroid was recalled, and NECC was closed down. Inspections by the Food and Drug Administration found fungus that could be seen with the eye in vials of medication, The Record reported.

So far 34 people have died and nearly 500 have come down with meningitis in a 19 states, according to The Record. In New Jersey 33 patients have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis, and no one had died.

NECC attorneys maintain that the lawsuits should be heard in federal, not state, court. And The Record reported that several of the cases have already been transferred to U.S. District Court in the Garden State.

Bill Looks To Regulate Pharmacies Linked To Meningitis Outbreak


Posted on 2nd November 2012 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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It only took 28 deaths, but our astute lawmakers in Washington are drafting legislation that would finally empower the Food and Drug Administration to regulate so-called compounding pharmacies, like the one that produced the batches of tainted steroids linked to a meningitis breakout.

According to The Wall Street Journal Friday, U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., was going to introduce a law mandating that compounding pharmacies, which create customized drugs, meet the same sterility and manufacturing standards as traditional pharmaceutical makers. His bill is being co-sponsored by Reps. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., and Louise Slaughter, D-New York.


Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., also plans to sponsor similar legislation, The Journal reported. Congress is probing the fatal fungal meningitis outbreak, with a hearing scheduled for after the Presidential Election.

The brouhaha comes in the wake of 28 dying and nearly 400 made ill after receiving contaminated steroid shots, medicine manufactured by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) of Framingham, Mass. The Journal reported that on Thursday, federal health officials announced that two other NECC products had been tested and had bacteria.

Compounding pharmacies have essentially fallen through the cracks when it comes to control and safety, “governed by fragmented regulations for too long, leading to the worst public-health disaster in recent memory,” The Journal quoted Markey as saying.

As the law stands now, states are supposed to regulate compounding pharmacies, but the problem is operations like NECC have grown too large for states to effectively control, according to The Journal. And currently the FDA can inspect compounding pharmacies, but can’t make them to adhere to safe drug-manufacturing standards.

Under Markey’s proposed legislation, the FDA could regulate pharmacies “partially based on their volumes,” according to The Journal. The bill draws a distinction between pharmacies that only make small amounts of drugs for individual patients and those that manufacture large quantities for use across the nation.