First Lawsuit Filed in Nationwide Meningitis Outbreak

meningitis outbreakA Minnesota woman who was injected with doses of steroids for back pain on Sept. 17 filed suit Oct. 12 in U.S. District Court against the New England Compounding Center (NECC) of Framington, MA, manufacturer of the sterile injectable steroid which is at the center of a major national outbreak of fungal meningitis.

As of Saturday, Oct. 13, it had claimed 15 lives in six states.

Barbe Puro of Savage, MN was the first person to file a law suit in the controversy which has seen 197 persons in 13 states identified as having contracted the rare, non-contagious form of the illness.

A potential 14,000 persons in 23 states received doses of the steroids tainted with fungus.

In her lawsuit, Ms. Puro alleges she has suffered bodily harm, emotional distress and other personal injuries.  She experienced symptoms similar to meningitis but has not yet received the results of tests she underwent to determine if she was infected.

Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.  It usually results from a viral infection but can also derive from a bacterial infection.  Symptoms include headache, fever and nausea and generally develop within a few days of exposure although one case did not appear until 42 days after the injection.  The individual must be treated quickly to increase chances of survival.

NECC was involved in the drug compounding process in which pharmacies alter or recombine ingredients from FDA-approved drugs to meet specific needs of doctors.  For example, if a patient is allergic to an ingredient in his medication, companies like NECC have the capability to alter the drug to make it usable by that person.

Friday (Oct. 12) Congress widened its investigation into the meningitis outbreak.  The House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee which oversees health issues and drug safety is claiming the US FDA was aware of problems at the facility as early as 2006.  The FDA performed an inspection at that time and failed to take remedial action against potential public health risks involving sterile injectable drugs, the committee alleges.

Meanwhile, a Connecticut senator is calling for a criminal investigation of NECC.

In response, the FDA is calling for a new regulatory framework saying it lacked the authority to act against the company which was supposed to be preparing single doses of drugs for individual patients not massive shipments of thousands of vials.  Also, NECC, and other companies like them, are under the supervision of state pharmacy boards and do not have to meet stringent FDA standards.

If you have suffered bodily harm or emotional injuries due to the negligence of others, it is likely you will need the assistance of an experienced personal injury lawyer.  Please contact the Ohio attorneys at Slater & Zurz LLP by calling us at 1-888-534-4850 for a free case review and a free consultation concerning your situation. You may also send a message from the website at

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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