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All Press Releases for February 16, 2013 »
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Meningitis outbreak shines light on harms caused by tainted medications

Tainted medications coming from a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy have sickened hundreds of peope across the U.S.
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    February 16, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Nearly 700 people around the country - almost 50 of them in New Jersey - have been infected with fungal meningitis transmitted in tainted steroid injections prepared by a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy. Six clinics in New Jersey, among them orthopedists, surgeons and pain management facilities, received the infected medications and injected them into patients seeking relief from chronic back pain.

The source

Health officials around the country, including those at the Federal Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control, have identified the tainted injections as those manufactured by the Framingham, Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center (NECC). The infected injections of the steroid compound Methylprednisolone Acetate were given to almost 14,000 patients around the country seeking relief from long-term back pain. Many of those given the injections were elderly with weakened immune systems, which helps to explain the high numbers of infections.

The medications in question were somehow exposed to a mold - Exserohilum - that has produced about 700 cases of fungal meningitis in 20 states around the country, and nearly 50 people have lost their lives as a result. The cases of meningitis linked to the tainted injections have waned in the past several months, but now instances of other types of infections with longer incubation periods are surfacing. These include spinal and peripheral joint infections, the exact numbers of which have not yet been determined.

Signs of fungal meningitis or other infection

Most people who have been infected by the tainted steroid injections realized the extent of their ailments only after seeking treatment for symptoms they didn't know were connected to the steroid, including:
- Fever
- Headache
- Weakness
- Body aches
- Stiffness in the neck and shoulders
- Sensitivity to light
- An "altered mental state"

New Jersey legislators calling for change

New Jersey State Senator Jeff Drew (D-Atlantic) has recently introduced a bill that would force compounding centers like the NECC doing business in the state to undergo additional health and safety licensing procedures. Drew's legislation would force compounding pharmacies to comply with stringent accreditation protocols to ensure that the facilities were following proper safety and sterility procedures necessary to prevent the introduction of tainted substances like the fungus seen in 2012.

The bill would also add in layers of accountability for compounding centers, providing oversight - not just regulation by the state's pharmacy board - by other state agencies.

Have you been exposed?

With approximately 14,000 patients around the country having received tainted injections, large-scale litigation is likely in the near future. If you were exposed to the infected Methylprednisolone Acetate, take steps to protect your legal rights and ensure that you can get the necessary care: contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area for more information.

Article provided by Miller & Gaudio, PC
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