January 3, 2013 — Dozens of individuals and families have filed lawsuits against Insight Imaging after the clinic administered tainted medicines from New England Compounding Center (NECC) that have been linked to a deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis. The lawsuits claim that the clinic, located in Virginia, indicated on bills and medical records that it was administering federally approved Depo-Medrol when it was actually using compounded medicines from NECC.
More than 30 lawsuits have already been filed on behalf of people who were sickened or killed by fungal meningitis after receiving the injections. Hundreds more people were treated with injectable epidural steroid shots, commonly used to treat back pain. Many people who were exposed to the contaminated medicines have required extensive follow-up care for months, including painful spinal taps to test cerebrospinal fluid for the fungus.
The family of Douglas Wingate, a man who died of fungal meningitis, is seeking $25 million in compensation from the clinic. The lawsuit, filed in Roanoke Circuit Court, alleges that, “They put profits over patient care.” It also alleges that the company misrepresented the safety of the drug to their insurance company, who might have been less willing to insure a compounded drug instead of Depo-Medrol.
The outbreak of has sickened 656 people in 19 states. Of these people, 372 had fungal meningitis, 250 people had spinal infections, and 39 people have died.
NECC, the compounding pharmacy that has been linked to the outbreak, has filed for bankruptcy and permanently ceased operations. Although the company has set aside a compensation fund for the victims of the outbreak, many have speculated that the company will not have enough funds to adequately cover all claims.