For the past year, a federal grand jury in Boston has been investigating the New England Compounding Center (NECC) for its role in the nationwide meningitis outbreak that took the lives of 64 and injured 751 more last year. On November 25, federal prosecutors announced that they will be joining forces with a separate grand jury investigation that is currently underway in Michigan.
“This information sharing will inevitably provide more evidence and that is the best way to ensure a just and fair result for victims and their families,” said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. Michigan, along with Tennessee and Indiana, was one of the states hardest hit by the meningitis outbreak, with 22 deaths.
According to Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, who is heading up the federal probe, the investigation is very active. “Over the course of past year, we’ve executed a number of search warrants, we’ve reviewed voluminous documents, and we’ve talked to many, many potential witnesses,” she said.
As we reported, NECC was recently named as a defendant in a lawsuit, along with the treating hospital, following the deaths of two children due to one of NECC’s contaminated cardiac drugs.
Will Compounding Legislation Improve Patient Safety?
Although compounding pharmacies play an important role in the health care industry by creating medications that are tailored to the individual needs of patients who cannot be treated with an FDA-approved medication, health experts have expressed concerns about compounding pharmacies for years. Because compounding pharmacies fall into a grey area of regulation, patients have continued to suffer.
Fortunately, on November 18, the Senate voted to pass a bill aimed at improving patient safety and increasing federal oversight of compounding pharmacies. Health advocates are hopeful that the new law will increase patient safety by invoking a federal prescription drug track-and-trace system whereby drugs can be tracked through the entire supply chain in order to prevent counterfeit or contaminated drugs from entering the market and to facilitate timely product recalls.
Cogan & Power, P.C. is a premier Chicago medical malpractice law firm that is dedicated to protecting the legal rights of the victims of medical malpractice and their families and to keeping the public safe from dangerous and defective pharmaceuticals. Our extensive experience handling a wide variety of medical malpractice cases, along with our keen knowledge of the legal and medical issues involved, allows us to provide our clients with exceptional legal advice and advocacy as we strive to get them the compensation that they deserve.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a preventable medical error, do not hesitate to contact our office at (312) 477-2500 to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate and well-respected Chicago medical malpractice attorneys.