Health Highlights: Dec. 13, 2012
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Dozens Sue Pharmacy Linked to Steroid/Meningitis Outbreak
Dozens of people have sued a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy
that made steroid injections linked to an outbreak of fungal
meningitis, but their chances of receiving compensation are low, a
More than 500 people have become ill after receiving steroid
injections prepared by the New England Compounding Center (NECC).
Thirty-seven people have died in the outbreak.
At least 50 federal lawsuits in nine states have been filed
against the NECC and more are being filed in state courts every
day, according to the
The lawsuits, which allege that NECC negligently produced a
defective and dangerous product, seek millions in compensation for
physically painful recoveries, lost wages, mental and emotional
suffering, and the death of spouses.
"The truth is the chance of recovering damages from NECC is
extremely low," John Day, a Nashville attorney who represents
several people who developed fungal meningitis, told the
One of the main issues is that NECC is a small private company
that has recalled all its product and laid off it employees. The
company has surrendered its pharmacy licenses and it's not known if
NECC has adequate liability insurance.
"It's clear to me that at the end of the day, NECC is not going
to have sufficient assets to compensate any of these people, not
even 1 percent," Day told the
That has led lawyers to seek compensation from other parties.
Additional defendants named in the lawsuit include NECC pharmacist
and co-founder Barry Cadden, co-founder Greg Conigliaro, sister
company Ameridose, and NECC's marketing and support arm, Medical
The clinics and doctors who buy their drugs from compounding
pharmacies could be held liable for negligence in such cases
because they are better able to assess the safety of a medicine
than patients, according to Day, the
"Did they use due care in determining from whom to buy these
drugs?" Day said.
Pharmaceutical distributors could also be held liable, according
to Terry Dawes, a Michigan lawyer who has filed at least 10 federal
lawsuits in the NECC case.
"We are looking at any conceivable sources of recovery for our
clients including pharmaceutical supply places that may have dealt
with this company in the past," Dawes told the
Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown Undergoing Radiation Therapy for
California Gov. Jerry Brown has early stage prostate cancer and
is undergoing radiation treatment, his office said Wednesday.
The 74-year-old governor's "prognosis is excellent, and there
are not expected to be any significant side effects," University of
California, San Francisco oncologist Eric Small, who is Brown's
cancer doctor, said in the statement, the
Brown's radiation treatment will be completed the week of Jan. 7
and he will continue to work a full schedule, according to the
statement. No further details were provided.
Typical radiation therapy for early stage prostate cancer is
five days a week for four to five weeks, Dr. Ralph de Vere White,
urological oncologist and director of the University of California,
Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center in Sacramento, told the
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