Massachusetts Pharmacy Linked to Meningitis Outbreak

Imagine this: You get out of a bed one day, with a sore back. You’re in a lot of pain, so you go to see your doctor to assess the problem and help you deal with your pain. He gives you some exercises to perform, and recommends Ibuprofen. And, oh yes, he suggests that he give you a steroid injection in your back to counteract your back pain. Sounds good to you, so you agree.

The next thing you know, you have contracted meningitis, an extremely serious and perhaps fatal inflammation of the lining of the spinal cord and brain.

Unfortunately, the above scenario is no nightmare, but a reality. In the past several days, a multi-state outbreak of fungal meningitis has been traced to a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility located here in our backyard, in Framingham, Massachusetts: The New England Compounding Center. The company is a compounding pharmacy, which means it custom-mixes medications for medical and commercial distribution. As of this posting, this bacterial meningitis outbreak spans nine states and has resulted in the deaths of at least seven people. States that have reported cases include Indiana, Florida, Michigan, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. As the outbreak has spread over the past few days, the New England Compounding Center has recalled not only the particular steroid linked to this outbreak, but all of its current products. Simultaneously, health officials have been working overtime to notify anyone who may have been injected with the drug.

This is not a scene from a science-fiction movie. The steroid was apparently tainted with a fungus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained that the steroid, called methylprednisolone acetate, was shipped out from July through September, to 75 places in 23 states across the USA.

What Is Meningitis?

Typically caused by an infection from a virus, or from bacterium in this case, meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. It is an agonizing and emiserating disease. As of this writing, 47 individuals in seven states — Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia — have contracted fungal meningitis.

What To Do If You Become A Meningitis Victim From The Tainted Steroid

Legally, this type of injury falls under product liability law. As a Boston product liability lawyer, I know all too well that victims of contaminated drug products like these can suffer extremely serious medical injuries, and as has already been seen in seven cases so far, death. The liability that governs these types of cases comes from a mix of product liability law and wrongful death law, and is fundamentally based on the legal principles of negligence. If you or someone you know has been impacted by this outbreak, you should speak to a law firm that specializes in Massachusetts product liability law. Complex negligence claims such as are involved with this incident require specialized legal counsel such as my law firm provides, to demonstrate and prove that the maker and/or distributor of this drug was legally negligent in some manner, which eventually allowed their contaminated product to be distributed in the marketplace.

Legal Liability For Injuries and Deaths Caused By Contaminated Steroids and Drugs

In Massachusetts, manufacturing or selling a defective product, or a product containing unexpected ingredients that cause harm, is often sufficient evidence to establish product liability on the part of the maker or seller of the product. This kind of legal claim is seen as a breach of a promise, or warranty, by the manufacturer and/or the seller, who by introducing their product into the marketplace, warranty that their product is safe for the purpose for which it was intended.

It’s quite unsettling to learn about this meningitis outbreak. To think that people who had every reason to believe that this medication was safe, and then fell victim to this horrible and potentially fatal infection, is indefensible. Fortunately, Massachusetts has strong legal protections for individuals who have been affected by this horrific turn of events. If you or someone you know has been impacted by this all too preventable tragedy, consult a specialized Boston, Massachusetts product liability law firm, now.

Don’t “wait it out,” and don’t talk to a law firm that does not have an established track record in the field of product liability law.

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