Fungal Meningitis, Tort Reform, and Damages in Tennessee Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases
The fungal meningitis outbreak discovered in Nashville highlights loopholes in the regulation of drugs made by compounding pharmacies. Large drug manufacturers are subject to an arduous approval process from the Food and Drug Administration, but compounding pharmacies operate outside of the agency’s regulatory framework, and the industry has aggressively fought against increased regulation. As it stands, regulation of these pharmacies is left to state agencies that often have scant resources, and to a patchwork of rules that varies by state. Massachusetts, for instance, bars these pharmacies from issuing drug preparations without prescriptions — to customers in this state or others. But it’s unclear how closely that rule has been followed, and not every state has a similar rule for compounding pharmacies within its borders.
Health officials identified cases of fungal meningitis from steroid injections at the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center in Nashville, Tennessee. U.S. health officials reported numerous cases in the fungal meningitis outbreak linked to steroid injections. Federal health officials have tracked down 12,000 of the roughly 14,000 people who may have received contaminated steroid shots in the nation’s growing meningitis outbreak, warning on October 11, 2012 that patients will need to keep watch for symptoms of the deadly infection for months.The widening outbreak has alarmed U.S. health officials and focused attention on regulations of pharmaceutical compounding companies like the one that produced the drugs, the New England Compounding Center Inc in Framingham, Massachusetts. The company shipped 17,676 vials of the steroid methylprednisolone acetate to 76 facilities in 23 states from July through September, the Massachusetts Health Department said.The steroid is used as a painkiller, usually for the back, and could have been injected in thousands of patients, authorities have said.
For victims of this outbreak in Tennessee the 2011 damages cap law passed by the Tennessee legislature will limit non-economic damages to $750,000 in death or injury cases. Our firm has filed (the first) constitutional challenge to the 2011 law capping non-economic damages. Gummo v. Ward U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee.
If you take or received the steroid methylprednisolone acetate and suffered serious injury or death, cancer, contact our Tennessee Meningitis lawyers for a free consultation toll-free (800) 394-2119 or fill out our “Submit A Case” form.