Victims of last year’s meningitis outbreak caused by tainted steroid shots may soon receive the financial compensation that they have been awaiting. As CBS News reports, attorneys for creditors of New England Compounding Center (NECC) – the pharmacy linked to the outbreak – said they have reached a preliminary settlement that would set up a victim compensation fund worth more than $100 million.
Before victims can receive compensation, however, the settlement needs the approval of a bankruptcy judge, which will likely come in the next few weeks. Victims of the meningitis outbreak have until January 15, 2014 to file a claim.
As we reported, approximately 750 people across 20 states became ill and 64 people died from meningitis outbreak caused by contaminated steroid shots that were produced by NECC, a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts.
Although NECC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2012, a fund was established to compensate for those who have been affected by the meningitis outbreak. According to CBS News, the initial $100 million will come from cash contributions by the owners of NECC and proceeds from insurance, tax refunds, and the sale of a related business.
Will Criminal Charges Come Next?
NECC has been the subject of a federal investigation for the past year, in addition to the civil lawsuits it is facing. Although no criminal charges have been filed to date, CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod reported last month that the federal investigation into NECC is “at a critical phase” and that charges could be filed shortly after the first of next year.
“You want to identify those people at the highest level in the organization that are criminally culpable, and that’s partly what the government is doing, and that’s what takes a lot of time,” Michael Sullivan, a former U.S. attorney in Boston, told CBS News.
What Is Being Done to Protect Patients?
As a result of the tainted steroid scandal and amidst growing concerns about the lack of regulation over compounding pharmacies, new legislation was signed into law at the end of November 2013 to increase federal oversight of compounding pharmacies and establish a national prescription drug tracking system.
The Chicago unsafe pharmaceutical attorneys at Ankin Law Offices, LLC are committed to protecting the public from dangerous pharmaceuticals. We have considerable experience representing clients in a wide variety of personal injury and product liability lawsuits, including class actions and lawsuits based on unsafe pharmaceutical drugs. If you have been injured by the meningitis outbreak or another unsafe pharmaceutical, contact the skilled Chicago unsafe pharmaceutical drug law firm of Ankin Law Offices, LLC at (312) 600-0000 to discuss a possible personal injury or product liability lawsuit.