Was Your Meningitis Caused by a Contaminated Steroid Injection?
A recent outbreak of meningitis caused by steroid injections has been traced to a compounding pharmacy that in all likelihood operated outside the bounds of the law. As a consequence, thousands of patients may have been placed in danger by a common, low-risk medical procedure. The Bernard Law Group is currently exploring how best to ensure that affected patients are able to take corrective legal action on this issue.
The recent outbreak owes its existence to the dubious practice of drug compounding, which is, at best, a legal gray area and, at worst, a borderline criminal enterprise. In theory, drugs are mixed at a compounding pharmacy to provide specific-needs patients with medications tailored to their unique needs.
A Recipe for Disaster
However, certain companies have gone beyond that localized approach in order to cheaply mix and distribute drugs without the proper federal oversight. When drug shortages occur, or when the cost of a brand-name drug is prohibitive, doctors and hospitals often look to these compounding companies in order to obtain medications for their patients.
Unfortunately, these compounders essentially take advantage of a loophole in regulation in order to escape oversight. Consequently, what amounts to unapproved drugs can be distributed on a large scale under the guise of “compounding.”
The New England Compounding Center was one such company that distributed drugs nationwide. One of their preparations that has come under scrutiny is a steroid injection administered to patients with lower back pain. Because the drug is injected directly into the spinal column, any infection that results is especially serious.
A Grave Threat to Safety
In this instance, the steroids provided to doctors across the country by New England Compounding were contaminated with the Aspergillus fungus. This fungus was then injected directly into a patient’s spine, at which point a serious infection was very likely to occur. Currently, at least 57 people have reported becoming ill with meningitis stemming from the fungus, and seven people have had their lives tragically cut short. However, the threat is even larger than that, as thousands of people were potentially exposed to this deadly infection.
Up to a month after receiving an injection, an individual suffering from meningitis could experience a litany of side effects, ranging from nausea and headaches to more serious complications like stroke. Although the company facility has been shut down, the damage has already been done. Approximately 17,676 vials of the steroid preparation were sold to clinics in at least 23 states.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are stressing that anyone who may have received a steroid injection compounded by the New England Compounding needs to be tracked down as soon as possible. The health threat posed by these steroids should not be underestimated.
Learn More By Calling the Bernard Law Group located in Seattle, Vancouver, and Near You
The Bernard Law Group is making itself available to those persons concerned that they have been negatively impacted by a steroid injection from New England Compounding. Given the lack of governmental oversight, the danger of infection, and the compounder’s own sordid history of complaints and allegations, we believe that consumers have a right to explore their legal options in these circumstances. Our staff is available to offer free consultations to all those who call, and we are keeping track of developments in this story in order to better serve the victims of this outbreak.