Chicago Drug Injury Lawyer Says Evidence is Mounting About Pharmacy in Meningitis Outbreak

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Patrick A. Salvi of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. points to reports that the Massachusetts pharmacy failed to confirm that steroid injections were sterile before distributing them.

Chicago fungal meningitis outbreak lawyer

Chicago drug injury attorney Patrick A. Salvi

The evidence about this facility that officials are discovering is important information for victims and their families as they seek to understand how this could have happened to them.

Chicago drug injury lawyer Patrick A. Salvi today praised health officials for discovering records indicating that the Massachusetts pharmacy at the center of a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak failed to follow basic safety procedures.

Reuters reported this week that Massachusetts public health officials had found records that the New England Compounding Center (NECC) repeatedly failed to wait for results of sterility tests on steroid injections before shipping them to doctors across the country and failed to maintain sterile conditions at its facility.

“Health officials at the state and federal levels are playing a key role in finding out how this health crisis occurred,” said Salvi, managing equity partner at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., a personal injury law firm in Chicago that represents drug injury victims.

“The evidence about this facility that officials are discovering is important information for victims and their families as they seek to understand how this could have happened to them,” Salvi said.

The NECC has been implicated in the outbreak, which has killed 24 people and infected 317 people in 17 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The victims are believed to have received injections of the NECC’s preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate, a steroid used for back pain and other conditions.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said additional drugs at the plant may be infected with fungus as well and has advised health care officials across the country to remove NECC products from their inventory. This week, the FDA released a list of NECC customers and the thousands of products they had bought since May 21.

The FDA closed the Framingham, Mass., compounding pharmacy earlier this month, and the NECC voluntarily recalled all products it has distributed since January

"Examination of NECC records indicated a failure of the facility to sterilize products for even the minimum amount of time necessary to ensure sterility," said Dr. Madeleine Biondolillo, director of the Bureau of Healthcare Safety at the Massachusetts public health department, according to Reuters.

Biondolillo also said floor mats that technicians and pharmacists were supposed to use before entering work areas "were soiled with assorted debris," and there was a leaky boiler next to a “clean room,” which is a room meant to maintain the highest barriers against contamination.

She added that none of these problems has yet been "conclusively" linked to the fatal contamination.

Salvi said his own law firm is continuing to investigate the outbreak and reports of illnesses suffered by patients in Illinois and across the country.

“So many patients and their families have been impacted by this crisis, dozens of whom have contacted our firm for their help,” Salvi said. “They need to know what went on at that facility, who knew what was going on and whether serious lapses in oversight led to dangerous drugs being shipped across the country.”

About Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C.

Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. is a leading Chicago personal injury firm with offices in Chicago (22 West Washington Street, Suite 1600, Chicago IL 60602) and Waukegan (218 North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Waukegan, IL 60085). The firm represents clients in matters involving medication errors, emergency room errors, failure to diagnose, hospital negligence, physician error, birth injuries, surgical malpractice, anesthesia errors, organ puncture/perforation, post-operative and pre-operation malpractice and surgical complications. The firm’s success in medical negligence, personal injury and wrongful death cases features recoveries of more than $630 million on behalf of its clients, including more than 180 multi-million dollar verdicts or settlements. To learn more about Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., call (312) 372-1227 or use the firm’s online form.

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