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Fallout Continues from Contaminated Meningitis Vaccine

December 22nd, 2014

Multiple lawsuits have been filed against a New Hampshire pain management company called PainCare, which has multiple locations across the state. The suits have been filed in association with an outbreak of fungal meningitis that resulted from contaminated medication manufactured by the New England Compounding Center in 2012.

The story begins with an outbreak of fungal meningitis that took place across the United States. The outbreak was traced by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to a batch of methylprednisolone, a medicine used in epidural steroid injections, that was sold by the compounding pharmacy. They determined that there were three lots of the medication distributed to dozens of medical facilities across the country, including PainCare’s ten locations in New Hampshire. All in all, over 14,000 people received injections of the medication over a 4-month period. Forty-eight died and over 700 required treatment for persistent fungal infections, and many experienced subsequent infections at their injection site.

In the case of PainCare, thirteen patients who were injected with the contaminated medicines at the company’s Somersworth and Merrimack locations have said that they contracted fungal meningitis after receiving injections from PainCare of what one attorney referred to as “bargain-basement medicine.”

According to one of the plaintiffs, “I’m dying on the inside, and that’s how I feel. I mean, just to take a walk with my husband, he has to hold me. I have to use a walking stick.”

The lawsuit is being filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by attorney Peter McGrath, a former federal prosecutor, who is also filing a lawsuit against the New England Compounding Center itself. According to McGrath, “The folks have suffered pain, stress and anxiety. To make matters worse, many do not have health insurance to pay for the critical treatment.” He indicates that some of the patients involved have over $200,000 in medical bills caused by the injections, and man have been disabled.

The lawsuit charges that the pain management company knew or should have known that the compounded preservative free steroid drug formulations were dangerous, but purchased the least expensive product available, and may have broken Massachusetts and New Hampshire laws in the way that they purchased the medication. It also alleges that the company did not properly research, investigate or inspect the facility or the medicine as the medical profession requires.

PainCare’s CEO, Dr. Michael O’Connell, issued a statement indicating that his company had responded to news of the contaminate medication. “PainCare has not received notification of any suits involving NECC. PainCare was very quick to respond to the 2012 outbreak in Tennessee by pulling all NECC products off the shelves immediately. None of (PainCare’s) patients had a single confirmed fungal infection.” In answer to the charge that the products purchased were cheap, he said, “The medications ordered from NECC were actually the same price as, or more expensive than, pharmaceutical manufactured meds at the time.”

 
     
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Gavin P. Lentz, Esq.
Bochetto & Lentz

Gavin Lentz (right) was selected as a "Super Lawyer" for 2006-2009 and 2010-2015 in New Jersey by Philadelphia Magazine. He has also been selected as a "Super Lawyer" by Philadelphia Magazine and the Legal Intelligencer in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 - 2015.

On September 16, 2002 Mr. Lentz was selected as one of the top 50 lawyers in Pennsylvania by the Legal Intelligencer.

He has made many television appearances, including on Fox News, The Today Show, Inside Edition, and The Phil Donahue Show.

Mr. Lentz is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

As a former prosecutor, he knows how to aggressively go after large pharmacy chains to prove the facts necessary to protect your loved one's rights.

 
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