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Pharmacy blamed for 64 deaths after meningitis outbreak

New Mexico residents might be interested to learn that a deadly meningitis outbreak in 2012 was linked to the unsterile conditions in a Massachusetts pharmacy. On Dec. 17, federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against 14 former owners and workers from the New England Compounding Center of Framingham. The individuals were charged for their roles in the outbreak that killed 64 people and sickened a total of 750 people.

According to prosecutors, tainted steroids that were mixed in the pharmacy were injected into patients for conditions like back pain. After receiving the injections, patients in 20 different states contracted spinal infections or a rare fungal form of meningitis. It is unclear if any of the surviving victims or family members of the deceased victims filed civil medical malpractice complaints against the pharmacy.

A U.S. attorney has called the criminal indictment against New England Compounding Center the largest case involving contaminated medicine in U.S. history. Employees, pharmacists and owners at the company are blamed for knowingly using unsterilized and expired ingredients to manufacture drugs. The conditions at the pharmacy were referred to as 'filthy", and employees are accused of falsifying record books to cover up the fact that they weren't complying with basic health standards.

A patient who has been injured by contaminated drugs may be able to pursue some financial compensation for their ordeal by filing a medical malpractice claim. Many people in this position choose to seek help from an attorney. If the root cause of a patient's injuries is not immediately known, an attorney may be able to conduct an investigation in order to uncover evidence of a pharmaceutical error.

Source: ABC News, "14 Charged in Deadly 2012 Meningitis Outbreak", Denise Lavoie, December 17, 2014

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