January 3, 2013 — Insight Imaging, a Virginia-based clinic, is facing dozens of lawsuits filed by people who were injured or killed by fungal meningitis infections after receiving tainted epidural steroid injections from New England Compounding Center (NECC). The lawsuits allege that the clinic indicated to patients, on bills, and medical records that they were using Depo-Medrol, a federally approved drug, instead of generic compounded medicines from NECC.
At least 30 lawsuits have been filed in Roanoke Circuit Court, and it is likely that the number will continue to grow. Hundreds of people were treated at the clinic and exposed to potentially tainted medicines. Many of these people required several months of follow-up care and painful spinal taps to check for fungus in their spinal fluid.
One lawsuit was filed by the family of Douglas Wingate, a man who died of fungal meningitis. The lawsuit is seeking $25 million in damages from the clinic. It alleges that Insight “put profits over patient care” and also misrepresented the safety of the compounded drug to their insurance company.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has received reports of more than 650 people who have fallen ill in the outbreak, of whom 39 have died. New cases have dramatically tapered off since the medicines were recalled in October 2012.
After the outbreak was traced to NECC, the compounding pharmacy ceased operations. This week, they filed for bankruptcy and established a Compensation Fund for the victims. However, many speculate that the fund will not be adequate to compensate all claims from thousands of victims.