According to those familiar with the NECC fungal meningitis litigation, which stems from a nationwide outbreak of meningitis tied to contaminated epidural steroid injections distributed by a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy, a fund could be established that would provide more than $100 million in compensation for victims of the outbreak. The New England Compounding Center (NECC) and attorneys representing individuals throughout the country who were diagnosed with meningitis or other infections announced the significant settlement agreement this week. If you or a loved one has suffered from fungal meningitis, and you believe a tainted steroid injection to be the cause, contact a reputable attorney in your area for legal help.
The fungal meningitis outbreak linked to NECC’s contaminated steroid injection began in the summer of 2012, ultimately killing more than 60 people and sickening more than 700 others throughout the United States. Federal investigators traced the outbreak back to tainted steroid injections mixed and distributed by NECC to hospitals and medical clinics across the country. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 14,000 individuals in the U.S. were exposed to the contaminated epidural injections, which in some cases contained visible fungus particles.
An investigation into the compounding pharmacy’s operations revealed unsterile drug manufacturing conditions at the facility, as well as a long track record of violations that went unpunished. Following a recall of the contaminated steroid injection in October 2012, which was eventually expanded to include all medications mixed by NECC, the Massachusetts-based compounding pharmacy was forced to cease operations, its license was revoked and new regulations for compounding pharmacies were established nationwide.
In a press release issued this week by attorneys representing NECC, the owners of the compounding pharmacy said they agreed to the settlement in order to “play a major role in establishing a fund for people who died or suffered as a result of this tragic outbreak.” If finalized, the settlement will not end the NECC litigation, as there are additional parties that may be held liable for the outbreak, including hospitals and pain management centers where the injections were administered and doctors who gave the shots or advised patients to get them.
There are currently more than 300 fungal meningitis lawsuits centralized before U.S. District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL), and more complaints may be filed in the future as more information about the meningitis outbreak comes to light. If you were diagnosed with fungal meningitis after receiving an epidural injection, or if you lost a loved one to the nationwide meningitis outbreak, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help. We are dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers harmed by potentially dangerous pharmaceutical drugs or medical devices, and we can help put you in touch with a product liability lawyer who has experience handling fungal meningitis cases in your area.