December 30, 2013 — New England Compounding Center (NECC), the pharmacy at the source of last year’s massive outbreak of fungal meningitis, has agreed to set up a victim compensation fund worth more than $100 million.
The fund will be used to pay off creditors from the now-bankrupt NECC, though the company continues to deny any liability or wrongdoing for this “tragic outbreak.” The contributions will come from insurance, tax refunds, the sale of Ameridose, LLC (a sister company to NECC), and cash from the owners of NECC.
Additional funds could come from other companies who have been sued. Defendants may include hospitals that administered injections and companies responsible for maintaining NECC clean rooms. When the FDA inspected clean rooms, they found ample evidence of contamination, including black specks floating in “sterile” medicines.
NECC has been flooded with hundreds of lawsuits from people who received tainted injections. About 750 people in 20 states developed infections, including 64 who died of fungal meningitis, an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord.
Approximately 17,600 doses of potentially-contaminated medicine were distributed, and many of the 14,000 people who received injections required painful spinal taps to test their cerebrospinal fluid for fungus.
No criminal charges have been filed against the Conigliaro or Cadden families, who founded and operated NECC and Ameridose. However, Massachusetts and Michigan Attorney General have announced that they will launch a criminal investigation. The Conigliaro family also operated a large recycling business in the same building as NECC. In 2009, there was a large fire just outside the recycling business, captured in this home video: