By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A total of 99.5 percent of the victims of the national 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak have voted in favor of a $220 million plan to liquidate the assets of the company blamed for the public health debacle.
Documents filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts show that only 0.45 percent of the patients who filed claims against the New England Compounding Center have voted to reject the plan prepared by bankruptcy trustee Paul D. Moore.
In the filing Moore disclosed that thus far 1,749 of the victims or their survivors favor the plan that would provide more than $200 million to victims of the outbreak.
Similar lopsided favorable votes were reported in other categories of creditors in the bankruptcy. Overall 1,773 or 98.83 percent voted in favor of the liquidation plan, while 21 creditors voted to reject the proposal.
The filing comes just one day after a 90 minute hearing before the federal judge presiding over the hundreds of civil cases filed by victims of the outbreak.
At the hearing U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel was told that the overwhelming majority of the voters supported the $220 million plan.
According to the latest figures 778 patients were sickened and 76 of them died after being injected with fungus laden methyhlprednisolone acetate shipped by NECC to health providers across the country.
At the hearing Wednesday an attorney for victims noted that those making claims against NECC, including victims, must file their ballots so that they arrive by 4 p.m. May 5 at the offices of Donlin Recano, the firm hired to oversee the voting.
U.S Bankruptcy Judge Henry J. Boroff has scheduled a May 19 hearing on the bankruptcy plan.
The $220 million includes payments from insurance companies, the owners of NECC, related companies and some of the health facilities where patients were injected with the fungus tainted steroid.
Some of that total will be earmarked only for those victims injected at facilities that have reached a settlement.