Steroids manufactured by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Mass., have been linked to meningitis outbreaks in 19 states.
About 18,000 vials of the steroid were sent out to clinics. All of them were recalled and—as of Nov. 5, 2012—419 people were reportedly infected in 19 states, resulting in 31 confirmed deaths, according to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
About 14,000 people received the contaminated injections, according to CBS News. The CDC has reportedly contacted about 12,000 of them to inform them of the risk associated with the injection.
Another Massachusetts compounding pharmacy, Ameridose LLC, a sister company of NECC, announced on Oct. 31, 2012, that it was recalling all of its products, according to a Reuters report. The company was responding to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) request for improved sanitary testing processes. Earlier in 2012, Ameridose had been accused of inadequately storing products.
What Are Methylprednisolone Acetate Steroid Injections Used To Treat?
The methylprednisolone acetate steroid injections suspected of exposing consumers to bacterial meningitis are used primarily to treat back pain. They are also used to treat pain in ankles, knees, and other joints.
Symptoms of Meningitis Include Pain, Nausea and Swelling
Meningitis is a dangerous illness that occurs when the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord become inflamed. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, symptoms of meningitis can include headaches, back pain, nausea, fever, confusion, altered consciousness, vomiting and light and noise sensitivity.
The meningitis outbreak in the autumn of 2012 was caused by the exserohilum bacteria.
Dr. Ben Park, medical officer of the CDC’s Mycotic Diseases Branch, told CBS News that it typically takes two weeks from the time of exposure for symptoms to arise. Because of this, the CDC expects more reports of infection through at least the rest of 2012.
Minnesota Woman Files Lawsuit
In October 2012, a Minnesota woman filed a lawsuit alleging she received one of the tainted steroid injections associated with the three affected lots of the medication, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of all other Minnesotans who received the steroid. The case was filed in Minnesota federal court and claims the plaintiff, Barbe Puro, suffered headaches and nausea after receiving the shots. It further alleges that she endured a painful spinal tap once she learned of the problem. The suit seeks unspecified damages from NECC, a company that mixes doses of medications to provide doctors and patients with different levels of potency. Firms of this type do not fall under the same FDA regulatory guidelines imposed on drug manufacturers, according to CBS News.
NECC is alleged to have violated Massachusetts law, which says that companies such as NECC should only mix drugs after receiving specific prescriptions. Instead, the firm was alleged to be mass-producing compounded drugs.
This is not be the first time NECC has been implicated in a lawsuit. In 2004 the firm settled a claim alleging that an 83-year-old man died as a result of having received an NECC shot tainted with meningitis, according to USA Today.
RLG Is Assessing Steroid-Injection Victims’ Claims
The process of demanding compensation for the harm you’ve suffered can be complicated, even if it doesn’t seem fair that you should have to go through even more trouble to be made whole again.
The Rottenstein Law Group believes that getting satisfaction from the company that harmed you shouldn’t be just more hardship. That’s why we do everything we can to streamline the process. If you were harmed by a tainted steroid injection, contact us for a free, confidential assessment of your situation. We won’t charge you a cent unless and until you recover.