Many people had never heard of compounding pharmacies until one here in the Northeast was in the news a couple of years ago, and not in a positive way. Last November, according to a Nov. 27, 2013, article on the NBC News website, President Obama signed a law that provides more federal oversight of these pharmacies that mix custom medications. This came after a 2012 meningitis outbreak was linked to contaminated injectable steroids from a Massachusetts compounding center. That outbreak killed 64 people and made at least 750 people sick throughout the country.
Now a Vineland, New Jersey, clinic is facing 15 federal lawsuits related to those steroids. According to the suits against Premier Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Associates as well as two of the clinic’s doctors, the plaintiffs were prescribed steroids that came from the New England Compounding Center. That facility has since closed.
With these suits, there have now been about 45 lawsuits filed in New Jersey over the contaminated steroids. In all, 300 federal lawsuits have been filed as a result of the outbreak.
According to these most recent suits, the Vineland clinic and physicians acted negligently because they failed to ensure that the steroids had been properly produced. Cases of meningitis were reported in New Jersey back in 2012 when the outbreak occurred.
Few of us as patients question how our prescription drugs and made and where they come from. We trust our physicians to ensure that any medications we take are safe. However, when the federal government does not have regulatory control over pharmaceuticals made at some facilities, the likelihood of contamination and other defects increases. Dangerous and defective products can have severe and possibly deadly results when ingested or injected into our bodies. Those responsible for producing them and prescribing them can and should be held accountable.
Source: NJ.com, “N.J. doctors sued over tainted steroids, report says” Seth Augenstein, Sep. 25, 2014