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Meningitis outbreak linked to company with history of issues

Missouri residents are probably aware of the recent meningitis outbreak. Meningitis is "an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord", according to an ABC News report. The recent outbreak caused illness in nearly 300 people and was responsible for the death of 23 people in a dozen states.

Company linked to outbreak has history of contamination issues


Recent documents reveal problems found in 2006 at the New England Compounding Center, the company linked to the outbreak. The problems were found by an outside company hired to do a company assessment.

The documents were obtained under a public records request. They document some of the problems found, including "inadequate contamination control and no written standard operating procedures for using equipment" according to an ABC News report.

Potential contamination problems included unlabeled and uncovered containers as well as an opening in the ceiling above a bench. Additionally, equipment exteriors were noticeably dirty with residue buildups. The issues were fixed within several months. According to reports, another state inspection conducted in May 2011 found no further issues.

However, a congressional committee is requesting 10 years worth of documents from the company due to a history of safety and quality issues. Food and Drug Administration officials and the state of Massachusetts conducted investigations into the company as far back as 2002-2003 after receiving notification about an issue with a steroid injection.

In 2004, another joint investigation was conducted by the FDA and Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy. The company finally signed a consent agreement in 2006 authorizing a full inspection after receiving numerous complaints. More recently, the NECC has been the subject of a criminal investigation but so far no individual with the company has been charged with a crime.

Defective drugs and product liability


Several different parties are potentially liable in a defective drug lawsuit, including the:

  • Manufacturer
  • Testing laboratory
  • Pharmaceutical sales representative
  • Prescribing physician or hospital
  • Pharmacy

Defective drugs fall under product liability law. However, holding a hospital or physician liable may also involve a medical malpractice claim. There are three defect categories in defective drug claims:

  • Manufacturing defects
  • Design defects
  • Failure to warn

Manufacturing defects occur when the drug is manufactured incorrectly or somehow contaminated during the manufacturing process. Design defects involve dangerous side effects. With a design defect, the drug is manufactured properly, but side effects cause harm to users.

Defective drugs and personal injury compensation

Many drugs come with side effects. To prove liability in a defective drug claim because of side effects, it is necessary to show the user was wrongly or ineffectively advised regarding the potential danger of the side effects of the particular drug. Failure to warn is also referred to as defective marketing. This occurs when the company fails to provide adequate instructions, warnings or recommendations for the drug.

An individual in Missouri injured due to a defective drug can benefit from a local, personal injury attorney with experience with defective drug lawsuits. An attorney can help a defective drug victim work through complex legal issues and help obtain maximum compensation.