Outbreak Turning into a Rash?—of lawsuits, that is. The first in what could be a string of fungal meningitis class actions was filed on Thursday against New England Compounding Pharmacy—the maker of the steroid injections suspected to be the cause of the multi-state meningitis outbreak.
The meningitis outbreak class action lawsuit entitled Barbe Puro v. New England Compounding Pharmacy Inc, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, No. 12-2605, was filed in federal court in Minnesota.
According to the lawsuit, the victim, Barbe Puro, of Savage, MN, experienced headaches and nausea after receiving the steroid shots. Puro claims she suffered “bodily harm, emotional distress, and other personal injuries” after she received the steroid injection on September 17.
The contaminated steroid injections were recalled on September 26 by Framingham, MA based compounding pharmacy, New England Compounding Center (NECC). As many as 14,000 individuals may have received the tainted injections which were distributed to medical facilities across 23 states. To date, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported 14 deaths associated with the contaminated steroid.
The meningitis lawsuit proposes a class comprised of Minnesota residents who may have received tainted steroid injections since June of this year. According to the CDC, so far there have been three cases of fungal meningitis reported in Minnesota connected to the contaminated steroid injections.
This might Help your Heartburn…A proposed settlement has been reached in a consumer fraud class action lawsuit against AstraZeneca alleging deceptive marketing practices around their anti-heartburn medication Nexium.
In the Nexium lawsuit, entitled Commonwealth Care Alliance v. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals L.P., Docket No. 05-0269, the plaintiffs allege Astra Zeneca violated a Massachusetts state law by deceptively marketing the drug Nexium as superior to another drug, Prilosec or its generic version, omeprazole.
The lawsuit asks the Court to order AstraZeneca to pay restitution to purchasers for amounts they allegedly overpaid, to award money damages, or to grant other relief.
The terms of the proposed Nexium consumer fraud class action settlement have not been disclosed. However, the Court has certified a class of individuals and entities that purchased Nexium in Massachusetts (the“Class”). The Court has not made any finding or reached any conclusion as to whether AstraZeneca is liable to the Class.
You are a member of the Class if you have purchased Nexiumin Massachusetts since March 2001. If you purchased Nexium since March 2001 in Massachusetts, you may be eligible to receive money or benefits from the Lawsuit, if any are recovered. For more information on the status of this settlement visit massachusettsnexiumlitigation.com.
Good News at the Poles…I love this one. A $12.9 million settlement has been approved by a federal judge ending a three year long employment class action brought by exotic dancers who alleged the strip clubs they worked for denied them benefits by classifying the dancers as independent contractors.
The strip club dancer lawsuit alleged that the owners of the nightclubs, located in California, Kentucky, Idaho, Texas, Nevada and Florida, helped themselves to over half of the dancers’ tips, penalized them for not selling enough drinks to customers and made the dancers pay stage fees for dancing. The Spearmint Rhino nightclub is among the defendants.
Under the terms of the strip club settlement, the clubs will treat dancers as employees, partners or shareholders in their businesses, and in California, dancers will no longer have to cough up pay-to-perform fees. Dancers who do not make a written claim to the fund will not be paid; any remaining funds will go back to the strip clubs. The dancers who were named plaintiffs in the class action will receive incentive fees for the time and “professional and personal risk” they incurred by being named in the lawsuit.
And on that note—I’ll see you at the bar (no, not the strip joint). Have a great weekend!
Here’s the latest on the multi-state fungal meningitis outbreak.
- Reuters is reporting a member of the U.S. Senate has requested the U.S. Justice Department to conduct a criminal probe of possible fraud violations by NECC, the supplier of the contaminated steroid injections.
-Also, new estimates suggest as many as 14,000 individuals may have received the contaminated steroid—previously that number had been estimated to be 13,000.
-See updated ‘by the numbers’ information below.
If you or someone you know have had a steroid injection—an epidural (according to the CDC, epidurals given for childbirth do not use the same medication involved in this outbreak), a shot given by an orthopedist, etc.—check with your doctor and/or healthcare facility to find out if you may have been affected. Also, be aware of the symptoms associated with meningitis (some are listed below) and seek immediate medical help should you suspect that you may have been affected by a contaminated steroid injection.
While the source of the contamination that has led to so many cases of fungal meningitis has not yet been determined, an investigation continues. Meningitis victims may also wish to seek legal help and can do so by submitting the form here.
Most importantly though, be sure to talk to your medical provider if you suspect you may have received a tainted steroid injection. Symptoms of meningitis include new or worsening headache, fever, sensitivity to light, stiff neck, new weakness or numbness in any part of your body, slurred speech, and/or increased pain, redness or swelling at the injection site.
Here, the latest numbers on the meningitis outbreak:
Date of Recall:
September 26, 2012
Number of Lots Recalled:
3 lots of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (80mg/ml); the 3 lots contained 17,676 vials of medicine (Reuters)
Number of Suppliers who have Issued a Recall:
1—New England Compounding Center (NECC) issued a voluntary recall on September 26, 2012
Start Date in which Recalled Lots of Steroid Injections may have been used:
May 21, 2012
Number of States with Healthcare Facilities that received Recalled Lots of Steroid Injections:
23 (California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia)
First State to Detect a Case of Fungal Meningitis related to the Recalled Steroid Injections:
Tennessee, which has had the most reported cases to date (35) and 4 reported deaths
Number of States with Reported Cases of Fungal Meningitis:
11 states have reported cases–Florida (4), Idaho (1), Indiana (12), Maryland (8), Michigan (25), Minnesota (3), North Carolina (2), Ohio (1), Tennessee (39), Virginia (24), New Jersey (1)
Number of Reported Cases of Fungal Meningitis:
170 cases of fungal meningitis have been reported to date
Number of Deaths related to Fungal Meningitis Outbreak:
14 deaths have been reported to date in the following states: Florida (2), Indiana (1), Maryland (1), Michigan (3), Tennessee (6), Virginia (1)
Number of Individuals who may have Received an Injection from the Recalled Lots:
An estimated 14,000 individuals may have received a steroid injection from the recalled lots
Source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC.com), unless otherwise noted. A full list of healthcare facilities by state that had received part of the recalled lots from NECC is available at the CDC website.