Product News and Recalls

Legal action filed in meningitis outbreak

One of the patients who received an injection of tainted steroid linked to a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak has filed suit against the medication’s manufacturer in Minnesota District Court. It’s the first of what legal experts predict will be a wave of lawsuits, Reuters reports.

As of Oct. 12, the federal Centers for Disease Control announced that the number of cases related to the outbreak had risen to 170 people in 11 states, 14 of whom died as a result of the infection.

Reuters says multiple investigations have been launched, and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is calling for a criminal probe of the company that made the medication – the New England Compounding Center, located in Massachusetts.

The CDC says the tainted medication shipped to 23 states, and as many as 14,000 people are at risk of infection. Medical practitioners are still trying to reach about 2,000 patients to warn them to be tested immediately.

The tainted medication is usually administered in the form of injections to treat back pain, though the CDC announced that some patients who received injections in joints such as a knee or ankle may also be at risk.

Meningitis is an infection that causes inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Unlike the more common viral and bacterial forms, the fungal infection in the current outbreak is not contagious.

Symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, stiffness of the neck, confusion, dizziness and discomfort from bright lights.

Federal and state regulators also have come under fire in the wake of the outbreak, because they allowed an obscure pharmaceuticals sector known as compounding to grow rapidly with little regulatory oversight.

Compounders make specialized treatments for patients from drug ingredients provided by other manufacturers. Critics say the industry has grown so large that some of the companies operate more like drug manufacturers than pharmacies.

Lopez McHugh is investigating cases related to this outbreak. If you or a loved one had an injection and were diagnosed with meningitis, you should consult with a Lopez McHugh lawyer for a free consultation.

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/12/us-usa-health-meningitis-idUSBRE8970TQ20121012