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Pharmacist facing charges after meningitis outbreak

Connecticut residents may have heard that the New England Compounding Center's co-founder, senior pharmacist and 12 other employees are being accused in court of a litany of criminal actions. These charges stem from a 2012 outbreak of meningitis that was allegedly caused by the company's manufacture of contaminated steroids. Around 750 people became ill due to the incident, and 64 people died, according to reports.

In addition to federal racketeering charges, the senior pharmacist and co-founder are facing 25 second-degree murder charges. The medication error allegedly occurred because the company produced drugs with some expired ingredients in a laboratory that was not up to standard. The incident led to more stringent regulations that are meant to prevent these types of negligent actions.

In addition, the company is accused of using falsified names to dispense drugs via fake prescription. Other employees at the company, including the other co-founder, faced a variety of charges including contempt, conspiracy, racketeering, violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, and mail fraud. The allegations against the company have also lead to financial problems for the pharmaceutical compounding company. The NECC has filed for bankruptcy protection, lost its license and the individuals facing charges were forced to forfeit a number of assets.

In many cases, professionals are often held to certain standards of care. This applies to many individuals in medical careers, including pharmacists. When negligence on the part of a medical professional results in injury to a patient, that person and his or her employer may be held liable for damages. An attorney who has experience litigating medical error cases could provide some assistance during proceedings by developing a case that demonstrates the extent of the damage and the defendant's negligence and liability.

Source: USA Today, "Meningitis outbreak that killed 64 draws murder charges", Joahn Bacon, December 17, 2014

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