New England Compounding Center (NECC), the specialty pharmacy a the center of the multistate fungal meningitis outbreak that has sickened more than 650 people and killed 39, is hoping to pass blame for the contaminated steroid shots it mixed on its cleaning service. Attorneys for NECC have sent a letter to UniFirst Corp., demanding that it take legal responsibility for claims against the pharmacy.
UniFirst acknowledges that one of its subsidiaries helped clean portions of the pharmacy’s cleanroom where drug cocktails were mixed to doctors’ orders, but says its services were limited and that it could not be held liable for the illnesses and deaths resulting from the contamination.
NECC custom-mixed steroid shots that were used to treat back, neck and joint pain. Three lots – or about 18,000 shots – were found to be contaminated with bits of mold and fungus. The shots were distributed to medical facilities in 23 states between late May and late September, when the shots were recalled. About 14,000 people received the tainted steroids. More than 370 people developed a rare fungal meningitis and another 284 developed fungal infections after receiving the contaminated injectable steroids.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched an investigation and found unsterile conditions at the NECC facility where drugs were compounded. Several lawsuits have been filed against NECC by patients who became ill or family members of patients who died as a result of the outbreak.
Source: Fox 25