Deadly Steroid Injections from the New England Compounding Center
By: David Rheingold
Meningitis cases in Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia have been linked to The New England Compounding Center. Three lots of methylprednisolone acetate have been recalled: lots of : #05212012@68, #06292012@26, and #08102012@51. These injections are commonly used for back pain. The comtominent is suspected to be the fungus aspergillus and would have been in injections between July 1 and September 20, 2012. It often takes 4 weeks for the disease to incubate.
There have been 30 cases, including 4 deaths. This is a unique outbreak in that aspergillus is quite rare. Our firm handled similar litigation in 1995 for infectious bacteria in albuterol sold by Copley Pharmaceutical. Our litigation team uncovered documents proving poorly designed processing equipment that allowed bacterial growth. Ultimately, it was also determined that some of the processing data was withheld from the FDA. Over 100,000 vials were recalled, but only after there were 14 deaths and over 100 injured. Oddly, Copley was also a New England company.