Lethal Medicine Linked to Meningitis Outbreak

We’ve had several inquiries about the feasibility of litigation in the compounding pharmacy case arising from the fungus-contaminated intra-spinal injections nationwide. Although it appears that the pharmacy is in bankruptcy, and that not much is recoverable from that defendant, the wide-spread nature of this needless tragedy reminds us of a few key medical facts. First, there is a dangerous lack of accountability on the part of many health care providers, which is made exponentially worse in states, like Texas, which have enacted regressive, anti-patient “tort reform” laws. With no meaningful financial penalty for causing real damages, providers do not have an economic incentive to ensure safety, and this poses deadly hazards for all of us. Second, with the enormous profit-motive associated with health care, patients must have access to high quality contingent fee representation if they are to have any hope of leveling the playing field against many of these behemoth entities. We’ve been involved in compounding pharmacy litigation, and the shocking lack of regulatory oversight leads to real hazards for the consuming public. – Paula Sweeney

Lethal Medicine Linked to Meningitis Outbreak

The following script is from “Lethal Medicine” which aired on CBS 60 Minutes on March 10, 2013. Scott Pelley is the correspondent. Michael Radutzky, Oriana Zill de Granados and Michael Rey, producers.

Last fall, 17,000 vials of a steroid were shipped to clinics and hospitals in 23 states. The drug had to be sterile because patients would have it injected into their joints or their spines to relieve chronic pain. What happened next is the worst pharmaceutical disaster in decades.

The steroid was contaminated with fungus. Forty-eight people have been killed, 720 are being treated for persistent fungal infections. The tragedy has exposed a failure in drug safety. And, in a moment, you will hear the commissioner of the FDA acknowledge that she can no longer guarantee the safety of many high risk drugs.

The steroid was produced by New England Compounding Center and in the six months since the first deaths, no one at New England Compounding has revealed what happened. But tonight they will. As for the victims, this has been an unrelenting horror after just one injection of lethal medicine…

Click to see full 60 Minutes story, with video.

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