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Meningitis Outbreak: Dangers at Pharmaceutical Compounding Plant

More and more information is being released on the pharmacuetical compounding plant at the center of the fungal meningitis outbreak. The details are not pretty. It is becoming clearer that the facility was operating in such a way that a serious contamination was likely to occur. In addition, the risks at the plant were not without precedent. Previous concerns were raised about the safety of the facility and investigations revealed problems. Those obvious warning signs notwithstanding, not enough was done to ensure the plant made permanent changes to keep products safe. All of this led to the current predicament, with thousands of contaminated spinal steroid injections affected hundreds of patients with fungal meningitis, killing at least 23 so far, and leaving thousands more waiting in worry before learning if they contracted the condition.

This sort of outbreak is unacceptable, and everything reasonable needs to be done to ensure changes are made that will help those affected, hold responsible parties accountable, and force changes to ensure something like this never happens again.

Warning Signs
According to a recent Journal Gazette story, the aftermath of this latest outbreak is not the first time that this particular pharmaceutical compounding plant was on the radar of state officials. That is becase in 2006 the state hired an outdside party to assess the safety risks of the plant. That assessment indicated various problems. Most potently, the report explained that the plant had inadequate contamination control issues at the facility. In addition, the reports explained that the facility had no written, standardized procedures in place regarding the operation of equipment. All of this was a reflection of the overall lack of prioritization of safety at the facility. The product liability attorneys at our firm appreciate that dangerous products are far more likely to occur at businesses that prioritize profits above all else–including reasonable safety for consumers.

Constant Vigliance Needed
According to the report, the problems at the facility were “corrected” that same year. A similar inspection in Myay of 2011 did not indicate any similar problems at the home. However, just a few months later the sitation at the facility had deteriorated to such a state that this extrememly deadly outbreak occurred. When official investigated the plant in the aftermath of the problem they found obvious issues. Black specks of fungus were visible in certain steroids. There was also basic cleanliness problems which are indicative of a culture that does not prioritize safety–that included a leaking boiler near a “clean room” at the plant.

Meningitis Lawyers in Illinois
This plant, and any others that allow such conditions to exist, must be held fully accountable under the law for the consequences of their conduct. Thousands of patients have been harmed in this case, and a standard must be set so that this never happens again. Legal responsibility is one of the key parts of ensuring future safety. In Chicago and throughout Illinois, the attorneys at our firm are working with affected community members to ensure that the laws are abided by. Please get in touch with our office as soon as possible if you or someone you know is affected.

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