As of today, 14 plaintiffs have filed suit against Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center, the pharmacy at the center of this year’s deadly fungal meningitis outbreak. The latest personal injury lawsuit was filed by a woman from Alabama who says she suffered temporary hearing loss and a painfully bloated face after receiving a tainted injection this summer.
According to the latest figures, the outbreak has left 36 people dead in 19 states. Plus another 541 people have reportedly been stricken ill. However, the Centers for Disease Control are expected to release updated outbreak numbers later today. All NECC products have been recalled at this point, and the compounding pharmacy has halted production of all drugs.
The tainted drugs were first traced to steroid spinal injections, but it appears many other drugs could be contaminated as well. Last week, the CDC reported that bacteria and mold were found in unused vials of heart, eye and skin medications distributed by NECC as well.
The woman who filed the latest lawsuit against NECC said she was stricken ill after receiving an injection of the prescription painkiller Nalbuphine in June. The woman’s lawsuit states that two months later she “developed extreme pain, swelling, redness, drainage on the left side of her face between the earlobe and cheekbone and a temporary loss of hearing.”
At this point, the CDC have not yet identified any fungal meningitis cases arising out of Alabama, but the woman’s lawsuit states that the Alabama medical center where she received the injection was “a known recipient of NECC medications.” A 2012 NECC customer list on file with the FDA confirms that hospital where the woman was treated purchased many doses of the painkiller from NECC between June and September.
As you can see, it appears that many more people throughout the country have been harmed by the contaminated drugs than what was originally thought. Anyone who believes they have been made ill because of tainted drugs produced by NECC should seek the advice of an attorney right away.
Source: Boston Herald, “14th patient sues NECC in outbreak,” Laurel J. Sweet, Dec. 10, 2012