The pharmacy responsible for the fungal meningitis outbreak that has injured over 500 people and killed 36 is now under grand jury investigation. The grand jury began to issue subpoenas to people who worked for the New England Compounding Center (NECC). Grand jury investigations are conducted in secrecy, and carried out to determine whether to press criminal charges.

The NECC recalled 17,000 vials of contaminated steroid injections used to relieve back pain in September 2012. The epidural steroid injections were tainted with black mold, causing serious adverse effects and deaths in patients in what the New York Times called “one of the worst public health disasters ever caused by a contaminated drug.” Approximately 14,000 steroid injections were injected into patients. Shortly after the recall, the NECC shut down production and surrendered its license to operate in October 2012.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz confirmed that the NECC was under criminal investigation.

The company has been named in numerous personal injury meningitis lawsuits brought by patients who were affected by the contaminated steroids. Patients suffered from injuries such as fungal meningitis, stroke (from fungal meningitis), and osteomyelitis (bone infection) at the site of the spinal injection or peripheral joints.

Recently, a Massachusetts District Judge Dennis Saylor ruled that meningitis lawsuits filed against NECC may proceed, and said that evidence in the cases must be preserved. Judge Saylor also consolidated about a dozen meningitis lawsuits pending in federal court in Boston.  NECC had asked Judge Saylor to delay the cases in lieu of a decision next year by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on whether all federally-filed meningitis lawsuits should be consolidated in one federal court for pretrial proceedings.

Plaintiffs petitioned the JPML for the establishment of a multidistrict litigation in Minnesota federal court in October, which the NECC has requested to be transferred to federal court in Massachusetts. The JPML is expected to hear the arguments in January.

Our Firm currently offers free fungal meningitis lawsuit case reviews to anyone affected by the outbreak and the NECC steroid injection recall. A meningitis lawsuit seeks compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and more. To learn more, call 1-877-779-1414.

Published December 3, 2012 by