According to officials, contaminated steroid injections originating from the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Massachusetts have taken the lives of 34 people so far, and made 490 more ill. The NECC reportedly shipped over 17,600 doses of the contaminated pain medication to 23 states. After patients became ill, public health officials discovered that two of the lots were contaminated with fungi.
The NECC is a "compounding pharmacy," a compounding pharmacy mixes customized medications according to a physicians instructions; these compounding pharmacies are generally overseen by state pharmacy boards.
The NECC is one of the larger compounding pharmacies, and in recent years these companies have become more prevalent, thus producing massive quantities of drugs that are shipped all over the nation. This mass-producing trend has caught the attention of the Food and Drug Administration who is now questioning the safety of their operations.
Per the current numbers, there have been 490 non-fatal cases of meningitis predominantly along the Eastern seaboard including the states of Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. So far, the states that have reported meningitis-related deaths include: Florida, Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
It is estimated that 14,000 patients received the contaminated injection, and approximately 12,000 of those people have been contacted. This means there are another 2,000 people out there that may still be suffering from the contaminated injections, yet may not be aware of it.
According to the test results of the people with infections, three different types of fungus have been discovered, with the majority of them being a form of black mold.
Meningitis is a bacterial infection that affects the protective membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, also known as meninges. The inflammation can be caused by a virus, fungus, tumors, bacteria, or other types of microorganisms. Meningitis can be life-threatening due to the fact that the inflammation is so close to the person's brain and spinal cord; therefore, meningitis is classified as a medical emergency.
Symptoms of meningitis include neck stiffness, severe headache, fever, confusion, vomiting, photophobia (inability to tolerate light), and phonohobia (inability to tolerate loud noises).
An investigative report was issued by the Senate last week where it came to the conclusion that both state and federal regulators failed to close down the NECC more than ten years ago when they became aware of troubling operations. According to U.S. health officials, there are two more drugs from the New England Compounding Pharmacy that are being investigated, and the company itself is also under investigation at this point in time.
Unfortunately this national meningitis outbreak is not the first of its kind, over the years there have been countless adverse reactions and drug-related deaths that stemmed directly from dangerous drugs being released on the consumer market. At Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC, we represent those that have been injured by dangerous drugs that have been released by negligent manufacturers and distributors. If you or someone you love has been injured by this life-threatening steroidal injection produced by NECC or any other dangerous drug, we urge you to contact our firm at once to discuss filing a claim for compensation.