According to a USA Today story about an ongoing fungal meningitis outbreak, the specialty pharmacy responsible has been flagrantly violating both sanitation standards and the terms of the federal laws permitting it to operate.
But the story characterizes the problem not simply as the practices of a single irresponsible business, but a systemic failing that’s permitted “compounding pharmacies” to operate on a large scale under relatively lax regulatory standards.
And patients who have contracted meningitis are paying the price – in the form of medical bills, their health and their lives.
The report quotes one meningitis patient as saying: “It’s going to bankrupt me. What I’ll end up doing is spending what I have left in an annuity, what I was saving for retirement, and use my pension. It’s horrible.”
Meningitis is a potentially inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the current nationwide outbreak has killed 51 people and sickened 730. It’s been traced to a batch of steroid medication produced at the now-closed New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts, where inspectors subsequently found unsanitary conditions.
According to USA Today, pharmacists at those compounding pharmacies are supposed to mix and modify drugs to meet the needs of individual patients in accordance with a doctor’s prescription. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which licenses other drug manufacturers, leaves it primarily up to states to monitor them.
But the NECC was operating more like a big drug manufacturer by distributing large amounts of its products for general use at facilities instead of requiring individual prescriptions – violating state laws and regulations in the process.
Lopez McHugh is investigating cases related to the fungal meningitis 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.
See the story here: