December 30, 2013 — Victims of last year’s fungal meningitis outbreak could be eligible for a share of a $100 million compensation fund established by the owners of New England Compounding Center (NECC).
NECC has declared bankruptcy in the face of hundreds of lawsuits, though they continue to deny liability or any wrongdoing. About 25% of the fund will come from insurance proceeds, and the rest will come from tax refunds, cash from the owners of NECC, and the sale of Ameridose, LLC (another pharmacy operated by the same owners of NECC).
The compensation fund may grow significantly with contributions from other companies who have been sued, including the companies who were supposed to maintain NECC’s clean rooms. When the FDA inspected the clean rooms, they saw visible evidence of contamination, including black specks in supposedly “sterile” injections.
It is likely that thousands of people will seek compensation. Just before the outbreak, NECC distributed more than 17,600 vials of methylprednisolone acetate, an epidural steroid used to treat back pain. Of the 14,000 people who received the injection, at least 750 people in 20 states were infected, and 64 died.
No criminal charges have been filed against five members of the Conigliaro and Cadden families who operated NECC and Ameridose. In November 2013, the Attorney General for Massachusetts and Michigan announced that they will launch a criminal investigation.