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House Lawmakers Look at Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

Washington, DC
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Committee examined the facts surrounding the recent outbreak of fungal meningitis, as well as other infections, linked to contaminated injectable products made and distributed by a U.S. pharmaceutical company.

Committee lawmakers reviewed the history of complaints associated with Massachusetts' drug company New England Compounding Center (NECC) and its affiliated companies. They will question NECC President Barry Cadden about his company's role in the outbreak.  He was subpoenaed by the Committee to appear Tuesday.

The first panel heard from the widow of a man who died from fungal meningitis after receiving a contaminated steroid shot at a Nashville hospital. Eddie Lovelace was among the first to die from a meningitis outbreak earlier this year that’s now linked to 32 deaths in 19 states.

The hearing also called on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to address the inspections completed and actions taken by her department and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH).  Commissioner Hamburg testified alongside MDPH Interim Commissioner Lauren Smith.

Over 32 deaths are linked to the shots and 440 people have been sickened. Congress’ investigation shows that federal inspectors wanted to shut down the pharmacy almost a decade ago.

Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 5:37pm (ET)

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