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Compound pharmacist linked to meningitis outbreak named in suit

Although this story is not directly related to medical malpractice but is more a medical or pharmaceutical product liability issue, it is none the less important to New York patients of pain clinics and other medical facilities that utilize injected steroids in its practice. No doubt many New York residents have seen the numerous reports involving tainted steroids and the deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis spreading across the country. Now the officers and executives behind the company, New England Compounding Center, responsible for the outbreak have been named as defendants in a civil lawsuit aimed at freezing their personal and business assets.

The lawsuit claims the company and its officers are directly responsible for the contaminated steroid injections that have resulted in the wrongful deaths of 20 people to date. The plaintiff in the suit, which was filed in Middlesex County Superior Court in Boston, Massachusetts where the compound pharmacy is headquartered, is unnamed at this time. The plaintiff's attorney said in an interview that he hopes to not only pursue the company in the lawsuit but also the individuals involved in and responsible for the outbreak.

The plaintiff's attorney also said that he represents several people who have been injured in the outbreak of meningitis and stated his clients are suffering in serious pain. At this point, federal authorities are investigating just how the company supplied clinics, hospitals and other healthcare providers with large orders of compounded drugs. Investigators want to know if state laws were violated. U.S. officials say that the company distributed thousands of contaminated vials of steroids that placed more than 14,000 people at risk of contracting the disease.

According to reports, family members of the owners of the compound pharmacy and other related businesses bought luxury homes valued over several million dollars in the past several months and prior to the U.S. government shutting down their operations. The Massachusetts lawsuit is asking the court to freeze the assets of the company and several of its named executive officers. This is considered a "prejudgment remedy" and is allowed during pending litigation in Massachusetts state courts.

Since the deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis has spread across 16 states, including 1 known case in New York, more personal injury and wrongful death suits are sure to follow. Anyone who has recently been injected with a steroid may want to consult with their doctor regarding a possible infection. If you or a loved one may be affected by this latest outbreak of meningitis it may also be beneficial to consult with a personal injury attorney who can help you protect your rights, including reimbursement for medical treatment and related expenses.

Source: Fox News, "Lawsuit targets assets of pharmacy linked to meningitis outbreak," Oct. 19, 2012

Our New York City personal injury law firm handles a wide range of medical malpractice cases, including product liability issues, such as medication errors and defective drugs similar to the case described in the above post.

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