September 30, 2014

Steroid Lawsuit Filed against NECC as Meningitis Outbreak Grows to 185 Sick, 14 Dead

Exserohilum Meningitis

Exserohilum, a fungus that has caused the meningitis outbreak.

Attorneys Fred Pritzker, Elliot Olsen and Ryan Osterholm have filed a lawsuit against New England Compounding Center (NECC) on behalf of a woman who had an epidural injection of a steroid medication, preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate  compounded by NECC. Three lots of the NECC steroid have been associated with a multi-state outbreak of fungal meningitis that has grown to 185 confirmed cases of illness, 3 of them fatal.  The plaintiff was one of the 14,000 people that had injections with the 3 implicated lots of NECC steroid medication.

“My client had to have a CT scan, IV medications for pain and anxiety, and a lumbar puncture (spinal tap), a painful procedure where a large needle is placed into the subarachnoid space in the spinal canal of the low back and fluid is withdrawn,” said Pritzker, who recently won over $40,000,000 for clients injured by another unsafe product.  “Every patient with either diagnosed or suspected meningitis has a claim against NECC for money damages. There are two primary purposes for this: to compensate the patient and to hold the company accountable for selling an unsafe product.” Pritzker is providing a free consultation to fungal meningitis outbreak victims and their families.

The plaintiff had her epidural spinal injection at MAPS Pain Clinic in Edina, MN. The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota.

The complaint filed in this case alleges that NECC sold pharmaceuticals in bulk in 2011 and 2012 despite the lack of a license to do so and in violation of federal law. It also alleges that the company produced and sold methylprednisolone acetate steroid products that were adulterated with Exserohilum and Aspergillus, dangerous pathogens that can cause illness and death. CDC’s fungal disease laboratory has confirmed the presence of the fungus Exserohilum in 10 people with meningitis and the fungus Aspergillus in one person with meningitis.

As of today, the CDC has confirmed meningitis cases in the following states: Florida (9, 2 deaths), Idaho (1), Indiana (24, 1 death), Maryland(14, 1 death), Michigan (41, 3 deaths), Minnesota (3), New Jersey (4), North Carolina (2), Ohio (3), Tennessee (50, 6 deaths), Texas (1) and Virginia (33, 1 death).

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