A $100 Million Settlement Fund Is Being Created For Victims of a Nationwide Fungal Meningitis Outbreak That Killed Scores and Sickened Hundreds, Notes Parker Waichman LLP

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A just-filed bankruptcy settlement will allow for the fund to compensate the victims of a deadly meningitis outbreak that originated with the New England Compounding Center (NECC).

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“The New England Compounding Center had a long history of shoddy practices and endangering consumers,” said Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman LLP.

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of victims injured by defective drugs, notes that, according to a May 6, 2014 The Associated Press (AP) report, the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak sickened more than 750 people and killed another 64 people across 20 states.

The NECC surrendered its license and filed for bankruptcy (In re: New England Compounding Pharmacy Inc., U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Massachusetts, No. 12-19882). Now, a compensation settlement is pending approval by Judge Henry Boroff and will be funded in a variety of ways. NECC owners will pay $50 million, insurers will pay $25 million, tax funds will cover $20 million, and the sale of Ameridose will fund the remainder, for a total of more than $100 million (In re: New England Compounding Pharmacy Inc. Products Liability Litigation, case number 1:13-md-02419, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts). Court records indicate those who brought lawsuits over the fungal meningitis outbreak sought to have the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) transfer the complaints to the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts. The motion to transfer and consolidate for pretrial proceedings was granted and there are 337 active cases under this multidistrict litigation (MDL) as of April 2014.

The court may approve the plan by year-end and victims may begin receiving compensation by early 2015, according to the AP. Monies would be split among the families of those who died and to those who allegedly underwent significant injuries following injections with the tainted steroid injections. Creditors will also be compensated.

According to a November 21, 2012 The New York Times investigation report into NECC, documents released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration repeatedly avoided declaring power against the compounding pharmacy over fears about a potential legal struggle because the agency does not hold the same power over these compounding pharmacies as do state regulators. In fact, the FDA was aware as far back as 2002 concerning potential manufacturing and procedural issues at NECC. Details also reveal that the FDA routinely delayed releasing and writing reports on FDA-sponsored or –conducted inspections at the NECC in the prior 10 years. When the agency advised the firm officials concerning the alleged violations, most were out of date and not applicable to then-current practices.

The Massachusetts’s compounding company had undergone three investigations by the FDA and was issued a warning in 2006, a Congressional investigation revealed, according to a November 29, 2012 Salt Lake Tribune report. (November 29, 2012)

“The New England Compounding Center had a long history of shoddy practices and endangering consumers,” said Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman LLP. “We are happy to see that the families of those who died and those who were injured are closer to receiving compensation and we are available to speak to those who suffered losses as a result of this outbreak.”

Parker Waichman LLP offers free lawsuit consultations to victims of tainted steroid injections. If you or a loved one experienced complications following a potentially tainted steroid injection, please visit the Firm’s tainted steroid injection page. Free case evaluations are also available by calling 1-800-LAW-INFO.

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