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Meningitis outbreak traced to defective drugs

Injection of steroids has been making national news as of late because of a fungal meningitis outbreak. It is now believed that as many as five deaths have been tied to steroids that were all prepared by a single pharmacy.

It's not known if anyone from New Jersey has contracted this meningitis, but 35 patients from at least six different states have contracted this disease. A recall has been put in place by federal officials asking for doctors and hospitals to discard the defective product that was manufactured at the New England Compounding Center.

The number of individuals infected by the product is expected to grow. Three lots of the steroid called Methylprednisolone Acetate have been distributed to a large number of health care facilities in 23 states. It appears that a fungal contaminant was introduced to the steroids, and it is possible that this contaminant will soon be discovered in other products manufactured as well.

Many products liability cases come about because of the marketing and manufacturing of defective drugs. Though most cases tried by attorneys involve defective drugs that were inadequately tested before being sold to the public, occasionally cases arise like this one that came about due to poor handling by employees at the drug companies.

For whatever reason the drug happens to be flawed, defective medications do tend to be particularly deadly for consumers that use these substances. It is for that reason that drug manufacturers have to be held to the strictest standards.

Companies make significant profits off of the manufacture of these products, and therefore these companies can afford to implement safety procedures that will prevent defective medications from being sold.

Source: The Boston Globe, "5 deaths now tied to rare fungal meningitis possibly contracted from steroids prepared by Massachusetts pharmacy," by Liz Kowalczyk, Oct. 4, 2012

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