LIVONIA, Mich., Oct. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The unprecedented spread of meningitis associated with steroid injections manufactured by an unregulated compound pharmacy is having dire consequences that can be expected to get worse before the contaminated supply is depleted.
Nationwide more than 100 have contacted fungal meningitis with eight dead and more than 17,000 exposed. In Michigan alone there are more than 20 cases of meningitis cases related to steroid injections with two dead.
The contaminated injections have been traced to the New England Compounding Center in Framington, Mass, which like other compounding pharmacies is not regulated by the FDA and can sell drugs without FDA approval.
"There certainly will be lawsuits filed by victims and surviving family members and tragically many will downplay and badmouth these attempts to obtain justice as money-grabbing lawsuits by greedy people," says Terry Cochran, a leading Michigan personal claims attorney. "But the real greedy, money-grabbing people are the doctors and clinics who seek to raise profits by purchasing drugs and injections at a discount price from compounding pharmacies instead of major drug manufacturers. And we need to look at the greed and money-grabbing motives of compounding pharmacies who rush products through to the market without proper manufacturing safeguards and testing."
Federal inspectors last week removed samples of the suspect drug from New England Compounding Center to test for fungal contamination. New England Compounding Center, licensed in all 50 states, shipped out a prodigious amount of the potentially contaminated steroid doses to 75 pain clinics in 23 states. The product was recalled September 25, 2012.
Meningitis can be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi with the fungal type being the hardest to treat and devastating to patients because it can cause strokes. Some of the patients in the current outbreak have suffered strokes. One Michigan victim who died, a 67-year-old woman from Howell, was taken off life support September 26 after suffering a stroke.
The symptoms of fungal meningitis include headache, stiff neck, worsening of neck or back pain, chills and fever. Anyone who has received back injections to relieve pain may develop fungal meningitis and if they do should call the law offices of Cochran, Foley & Associates, PC of Livonia at 800-322-5543 for a free consultation.
In 1995 Michigan amended its product liability law to provide a broad defense for drug manufacturers who are sued for product defect. "The law made drug manufacturers immune from liability if the drug was approved by the FDA and if the drug complied with FDA labeling requirements," explained Cochran. "But compounding pharmacies, such as the New England Compounding Center, are not regulated by the FDA. Therefore, the steroid doses in question are not approved for safety and efficacy by the FDA and do not comply with FDA approval at the time the drug leaves the manufacturer or seller. Therefore Michigan's drug immunity law does not apply to these drugs or their manufacturers."
About Terry Cochran:
Terry Cochran is senior partner in Cochran, Foley & Associates, P.C., a Michigan law firm specializing in auto accidents, personal liability, medical malpractice, and SSD/SSI appeals. Cochran does not represent insurance companies or corporations but instead bases his practice upon representing individuals and families. http://www.cochranfoley.com 800-322-5543.
SOURCE Terry Cochran