According to the nation’s Food and Drug Administration at least 30 Maine health care facilities reportedly received drug products manufactured at the Massachusetts compounding facility that was linked to a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak. Originally, only 14 Maine medical facilities were suspected of receiving pharmaceuticals manufactured at the New England Compounding Center (NECC). In response to the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak, NECC issued a recall for all products manufactured by the company including three lots of the injectable steroid suspected of being contaminated with the disease. At this time, none of NECC’s other recalled drug products have been linked to a patient’s illness.
Although federal investigators do not believe any patients were injected with the possibly contaminated steroid solution at a Maine medical facility, 74 Maine residents are reportedly being monitored for possible fungal meningitis infection after receiving spinal injections in neighboring New Hampshire. Additionally, as many as 14,000 patients throughout the nation may have received tainted steroid injections for pain. While the injectable steroid is normally used to treat pain in a variety joints, those at highest risk for contracting the potentially fatal disease include patients who received contaminated spinal injections. At least 24 people have died and more than 300 patients have taken ill as a result of contracting the rare disease.
Meningitis causes the membrane that surrounds a victim’s brain and spinal column to become inflamed. Common symptoms include an intense headache, stiff neck, fever, and light sensitivity. Unfortunately, symptoms of fungal meningitis can take more than one month to appear. Those who are diagnosed with the disease must reportedly undergo months of treatment with intravenous antifungal drugs. Unlike other types of meningitis, the fungal strain cannot be transferred from person to person.
Compounding facilities are specialized pharmacies that normally create custom drug formulations. They are often used to remove potential allergens, alter dosage, or modify the physical format of a drug. Investigators reportedly believe products manufactured at NECC since May 21st are the most likely to place the public at risk for disease. Medical and other facilities throughout Maine are allegedly contacting all patients who were treated using drug products manufactured at NECC since that time. In addition, patients who may have been treated using an NECC product are being advised to remain on the lookout for symptoms of infection.
Although this particular type of outbreak is quite rare, about 770,000 people suffer illness or other adverse effects from prescription medications every year. Potential problems include allergic reactions, patient or caregiver error, and healthcare provider, pharmacist, or manufacturer negligence. If you or a loved one was sickened by or died after taking a prescription medication in Maine you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
Call Briggs & Wholey toll free at (888) 596-1099 if you were injured by a drug manufacturer’s product. The experienced Bangor personal injury lawyers at Briggs & Wholey have helped those who were harmed through no fault of their own receive the compensation they deserve for more than 25 years. At Briggs & Wholey, our skilled team of attorneys is available to discuss your options for recovery and assist you in filing your case. Our diligent lawyers represent injured clients and their loved ones throughout Maine. To schedule a free consultation with a hardworking attorney, do not hesitate to contact Briggs & Wholey through our website today.
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FDA: More than 30 Maine health groups used pharmacy in meningitis outbreak, by Jackie Farwell, Bangor Daily News
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