Local attorney files suit on behalf of New Hampshire man with fungal meningitis
The manufacturer of a suspect steroid linked with a nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis is being sued by a law firm with an office in Mount Pleasant.
Different hospitals, different drugs
Roper St. Francis Healthcare said it will notify 208 patients treated with the New England Compounding Center pain drug nalbuphine, which is injected into a muscle or vein.
East Cooper Regional Medical Center said it will contact patients who received the NECC drug triamcinolone as well as “injectable opthalmic products.” How many patients were involved was not available Wednesday night
The Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center said it has contacted patients who received NECC drugs. How many veterans were affected and which drugs were involved was not available Wednesday night.
The drugs were manufactured after May 21. All of NECC’s products were recalled Oct. 6 on the recommendation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the wake of a fungal meningitis outbreak linked to an NECC tainted steroid that has claimed 19 lives.
None of the local medical centers purchased the suspect steroid.
The suit is on behalf of a New Hampshire man suffering with fungal meningitis after receiving a spinal injection of a contaminated steroid linked to more than 200 cases of the illness that has killed 19.
“Meningitis is a horrible condition and there is no excuse for a patient having to face that risk unnecessarily,” said Peter McGrath, a former federal prosecutor whose law firm has offices east of the Cooper and in New Hampshire.
The suit is the first of its type filed in Massachusetts, the state where the company that made the steroid is located, McGrath said.
Defendants named in the suit are the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass., as well as vice president and secretary treasurer Greg Conigliaro, pharmacist Lisa Cadden and president Barry Cadden. Each is also listed as a company director.
NECC made the steroid methylprednisolone acetate that was injected into the 45-year-old man’s spine for pain relief, the suit states.
The complaint alleges that the defendants were negligent in the manufacturing and distribution of the steroid, and they do not have enough insurance coverage to compensate the plaintiff, identified only as John Doe.
It asks for a jury trial and just compensation for the plaintiff, including unspecified damages and future losses. The suit was filed Monday.
“Plaintiff has been experiencing flu-like symptoms, headaches, body aches and fatigue, and since the phone call from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), he has suffered many bouts of sleeplessness,” according to the suit, which was filed in Middlesex County Superior Court.
The suit notes that NECC was licensed as a compounding pharmacy, typically a small-scale operation that fills individual prescriptions. It questions whether the firm exceeded its legal authority by shipping large quantities of drugs across state lines.
Other suits filed against NECC include one brought in U.S. District Court in Minnesota on behalf of a woman who received the suspect steroid and later developed meningitis symptoms.
It seeks the creation of a class action lawsuit on behalf of others in Minnesota who received the NECC steroid.
About 14,000 people who received the possibly-tainted steroid are at risk for developing fungal meningitis infection, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The CDC on Wednesday reported more than 200 cases of fungal meningitis in 15 states.
So far, South Carolina has had no confirmed cases of fungal meningitis linked to the suspect steroid.