Maker of tainted steroid shots reaches settlement agreement in meningitis outbreak case

syringe Maker of tainted steroid shots reaches settlement agreement in meningitis outbreak casePatients and their families harmed or killed by contaminated steroid injections made by New England Compounding Center (NECC) could start receiving compensation next year now that a $100-million multidistrict litigation (MDL) settlement has been reached between the plaintiffs and trustees of the now-bankrupt company.

Tuesday’s settlement agreement came as welcome news to dozens of plaintiffs whose lives were marred by a deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak traced to NECC injections that killed 64 people in 20 states and injured 750 others.

“There are hundreds of victims and their families feeling some relief today, even though grief for many is still fresh,” said one plaintiff’s lawyer in a statement. “This tragedy claimed the lives of mothers, fathers, spouses, grandparents; no amount of money is going to make these losses easier to bear.”

NECC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Dec. 2012 after investigations led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) traced the deadly outbreak to NECC’s facilities in Framingham, Mass. Those investigations prompted the company to cease its operations and recall all the products distributed from its Framingham location.

Pending approval by the court, the agreement would resolve all claims involving NECC and its companies, but the Mass.-based multidistrict litigation would continue against other defendants, including the companies responsible for the design, installation, and maintenance of NECC’s clean room and air filtration systems and other parties.

NECC made and distributed more than 18,000 tainted shots to medical facilities in 23 states between May and September of 2012, exposing some 14,000 people to the risk of infection from fungal meningitis. The steroid shots were injected into patients’ spines, necks or joints to alleviate pain.