Friday, August 18, 2017

PA Death Prompts Probe

Friday, August 18, 2017

Hershey Hospital Cited in Death of Six-Year Old

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

A Hershey hospital has been cited by Pennsylvania health officials for failing to report the unexpected death of a six-year-old boy and failure to follow expected standards of care in treating him.
According to a lengthy state inspection report, the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center only notified the Pennsylvania Health Department of the death after an anonymous informant had reported the Jan. 11 death months after it occurred. Under state law and regulations the death should have been reported within 24 hours of its occurrence.
In response to questions about the citation, the medical center issued a statement acknowledging the delay in reporting the incident and also the fact that there was a 10 hour gap in the recording of the patient's temperature.
"The facility failed to meet the emergency needs of a patient with acceptable standards of practice," the inspection report states.
The boy, who was brought to the hospital's emergency room on Jan. 10, was placed in a warming device due to a low temperature. He had a temperature of 107.6 degrees when he was found unresponsive the next day.
"There were no vitals,"the inspection report states, adding that hospital staffers acknowledged the warming device, called a Bair Hugger," had been on high all night.
He was pronounced dead at 5:39 p.m. on Jan. 11.
In addition to the failure to report the death, the hospital was cited for failing to adequately train employees and failing to follow the warming device manufacturer's guidelines calling for temperature checks every 10 to 20 minutes.
In its statement, the medical center said management did not become aware of the incident until notified by the state following the anonymous complaint to the state Patient Safety Authority.
"This situation raised serious issues, and our response has been equally serious" the hospital said in its statement.
Acknowledging that the state found a total of five violations, the medical center
termed the incident an "unacceptable failure" and said corrective action was initiated  as soon as it received notice of the anonymous complaint.
 The state sent inspectors to the hospital on April 12 and they completed their review the next day. Because the inspectors declared a state of "immediate jeopardy," the hospital was required to respond immediately with a corrective action plan. The "immediate jeopardy" was lifted on April 13.
In its statement the hospital said the boy was suffering from "ongoing, complex and life limiting health issues" and "presumed sepsis" when he was brought to the emergency room in January.
After he was found unresponsive the next day, he was taken to the the hospital's pediatric intensive care unit but died later in the day.
The hospital said its own investigation found "an agency nurse was overseeing the child's care during the 10-hour gap in temperature documentation, and no one involved in the child's care reported the incident to our Patient Safety Department."
In its inspection report, the state said that the nurse in question said she knew she took the patient's temperature but forgot to document it.
"I did not have the computer with me. I was probably busy with something else," she told the inspectors.
The state found that although the nurse had been hired a year earlier, there were no evaluations in her file and core competency for use of the warming device "was not completed."
According to the hospital statement, the facility now limits the use of the warming devices to operating rooms "where patients are continuously attended."
Other steps include training for staffers, including those hired through an agency, on the use of such devices and audits to ensure serious incidents are properly reported.
"As an organization that holds itself accountable for providing the highest quality care while protecting the safety of patients, employees and visitors, we recognize this situation was an unacceptable failure," the hospital said in its statement.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com

Compounded Drug Recall in Progress

Vital Rx, Inc. d/b/a Atlantic Pharmacy and Compounding Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of all Compounded Injectable Prescription Medications Due to Lack of Sterility Assurance

For Immediate Release

August 17, 2017

Contact

Announcement

Vital Rx, Inc. d/b/a Atlantic Pharmacy and Compounding is voluntarily recalling all lots of all compounded injectable prescription medications to the consumer level. The compounded injectable prescription medications have been found to lack sterility assurance. Atlantic Pharmacy and Compounding became aware of this issue during an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) inspection of the pharmacy.

Risk Statement: The compounded injectable prescription medications potentially could result in adverse effects.  To date, Vital Rx, Inc. d/b/a Atlantic Pharmacy and Compounding has not received any reports of adverse events related to this recall.
The compounded injectable prescription is packaged in sterile vials for injection.
Vital Rx, Inc. d/b/a Atlantic Pharmacy and Compounding is notifying its patients by U.S. Mail and is requesting that all unexpired lots of compounded injectable prescription medications be destroyed immediately upon receipt of the notification. Patients that have compounded injectable prescription medications which are being recalled should stop using the compounded injectable prescription medications and discard any remaining unused medication.
Patients should contact their physician or healthcare provider if they have experienced any problems that may be related to taking or using this drug product.
Adverse reactions or quality problems experienced with the use of this product may be reported to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail or by fax.
This recall is being conducted with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
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Product Photos

  • Example label Atlantic Pharmacy & Compounding, Pompano Beach, FL

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Outbreak Victim's Dad Outraged by Congressional Proposal

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

Nearly five years ago a 16 year-old high school football star suffering from back pains went to a Roanoke, Va. clinic where he was injected with a steroid.
About a month later and a week after starring in a game for Cave Spring High School, Zac Foutz was completely incapacitated after being hit with excruciating pain and high sensitivity to light. On Oct. 28, 2012 he was admitted to a local hospital suffering from fungal meningitis.
Hit with  powerful antifungal medications, Foutz remained hospitalized for more than two weeks.
Now Zac has recovered and is listed as a 250 6'4'' tight end at Liberty University.
But that is a small part of the story.
Zac's illness motivated his father, Ben, a medical supply salesman, to become deeply involved in efforts to see that what happened to Zac and more than 750 other victims of the 2012 outbreak never happens again. As Ben Foutz noted, Virginia was particularly hard hit
Federal officials say some 758 patients were sickened and 76 died as a result of being injected with fungus riddled steroids from a Framingham, Mass. drug compounder.
Working with Republican U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, who represents a neighboring district, Ben Foutz followed developments in congress, including a 2012 congressional hearing in which Griffith made a specific reference to Zac and his illness.
Eventually a bill tightening regulation of drug compounders like the New England Compounding Center was passed and then signed into law by then President Obama.
Griffith hailed the passage and even took some credit, saying that the final bill was based on a bill he filed.
For that reason Foutz said he was taken aback and angry when he learned last week that Griffith had  just filed "a very flawed" bill that would eliminate a key provision of the 2013 law.
The Griffith bill, strongly backed by a national association of drug compounders, would eliminate a requirement that drug compounders have patient specific prescriptions for each and every drug they compound.
"I will admit my bias," Foutz said in an email, "I am the father of a victim. I am emotionally attached to this issue."
"I want people in our great country to get the medication they need, but I expect those medications to be safe, effective and regulated."
Foutz said that when he spoke to Griffith, the representative told him that he now felt the U.S. Food  and Drug Administration was preventing local drug compounders from providing needed drugs and that regulation of drug compounders should be left to state regulatory boards.
At the 2012 hearing, Griffith was one of several committee members to charge the FDA with failing in its duty to regulate drug compounders.
"Now he feels the FDA has too much authority," Foutz wrote.
He said that when he pushed Griffith for the reason he reversed himself, Griffith said that he didn't have the bill in front of him and would have to get back to him later.
Foutz is still waiting.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com




Monday, August 7, 2017

Cadden Reports to Western PA Facility

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

Pharmacist Barry J.Cadden has reported to a federal prison in Western Pennsylvania to begin serving a nine year sentence following his conviction on 57 counts of racketeering, conspiracy and mail fraud.
Cadden, the one time president of a now defunct Massachusetts drug compounding firm, was sentenced in June by U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns. Federal prosecutors had sought
a 45-year prison term and Cadden had asked for a three year sentence.
Cadden's 10 week trial ended on March 22 when the jury returned a split verdict. While convicting him of racketeering and mail fraud, the jurors acquitted the 50-year-old pharmacist on 25 counts of second degree murder.
FCI Loretto, located near Altoona, Penn., is a low security prison which includes a prison camp. Cadden was assigned to the prison section of the facility not the prison camp.
Cadden was one of 14 employees and owners of the New England Compounding Center who were indicted in late 2014 following a two year federal probe of the deadly 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak. Fungus contaminated drugs from NECC caused the outbreak which sickened 778 patients, killing at least 76 of them.
Cadden had asked to serve his sentence at the federal prison near Ayer, Mass., less than an hour from his Wrentham, Mass. home. Loretto, PA is some 490 miles from Wrentham, Mass.
Cadden has already served notice that he is appealing his conviction.
Codefendant Glenn Chin is scheduled to go on trial in September. Chin, like Cadden was charged with 25 counts of second degree murder, along with racketeering and mail fraud charges.
Other defendants are expected to be tried after the Chin trial has ended.
Stearns has issued orders limiting the length of the Chin trial to a little over a month, in an apparent effort to avert a repeat of the 10-week marathon Cadden trial.
The Loretto federal prison, once the site of a Catholic seminary, has had some well known inmates including John Rowland, a former governor of Connecticut, who was convicted on corruption charges. Others have included a New York assemblyman and a New England mafia boss.




Cadden Prison Assignment Unclear

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

The location of the convicted drug executive due to begin serving a nine-year prison sentence today remains unclear and officials, including his attorneys, did not respond to requests for comment.
Barry J. Cadden, 50, of Wrentham, Mass.,was due to report today to the federal Bureau of Prisons, to begin serving the sentence imposed on June 26 by U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns.
Cadden, the former president of the defunct New England Compounding Center, was convicted of 57 counts of racketeering, conspiracy and mail fraud on March 22.
He was cleared on 25 counts of second degree murder.
Cadden was one of 14 indicted by a federal grand jury in late 2014 following a two year probe of a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak caused by drugs shipped from NECC's Framingham, Mass. headquarters.
Cadden, through his attorney, had asked Stearns to recommend that he serve his sentence at Fort Devens, a federal prison about an hour from his home.
The BOP web site lists Cadden as a prospective inmate, but states "Not in BOP Custody"
Cadden has appealed his conviction to the First Circuit Court of Appeals.
Inquiries today to Cadden's attorney, the federal Bureau of Prisons and federal prosecutors went unanswered.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com


Friday, August 4, 2017

Compounding Bill Could Bring Outbreak Recurrence

By Walter F. Roche Jr.



"Our job is to find out how this happened and then to make sure it doesn't happen again." U.S. Rep. H. Morgan Griffith Sept. 12, 2013



A Virginia congressman who said his district was among the hardest hit in the nation by the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak, is now seeking to strip a key provision of the law passed to prevent a recurrence  of that deadly public health crisis.
U.S. Rep. H. Morgan Griffith filed a bill recently that would eliminate a requirement that drug compounders obtain a patient specific prescription before compounding even a single dose of a drug.
Dr. Michael Carome of Public Citizen said in an interview this week that passage of the Griffith bill would "clearly guarantee" a recurrence of the 2012 outbreak which sickened 778 patients in 23 states, killing at least 76 of them.
Griffith did not respond to requests for comment.
In the wake of the outbreak Griffith, a Republican whose district is in Southwest Virginia, made a point of stressing how his district was "particularly hard hit."
At a Nov. 14, 2012 congressional hearing on the outbreak he said two deaths already had been reported and as many as 1,415 area residents had been notified they had been injected with contaminated steroids from the same drug compounder, the New England Compounding Center.
He recounted a telephone conversation he had with the father of a 16-year-old, the youngest known victim of the outbreak.
Griffith told those at the hearing that it was unclear whether the teenager would recover despite his youth.
When the current law won final congressional approval, Griffith hailed its passage.
The new Griffith bill was immediately endorsed by the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists, a group that lobbies in behalf of compounding pharmacists.
The group's political action committee donated $5,000 to Griffith's campaign committee 15 days after he filed the bill.
Carome noted that his organization did not support the 2013 law, because it created a new category of mass drug producers, known as outsourcers, that do not need to meet the same standards as major drug producers.
"We opposed the creation of that new category," he said.
But,  Carome noted, the new law does require the mass compounders to follow standards known as GMP or Good Manufacturing Practices. He said that requirement would not apply to compounders under the Griffith proposal.
"This bill would allow any compounder to mass produce," he said, adding that it was clear that the bill was filed at the behest of the compounders association.
Griffith was a major participant in the Nov. 14, 2012 hearing before the subcommittee on oversight and investigations during which  committee members grilled officials of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about its failure to prevent the fungal meningitis outbreak.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com





Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Proposal Would Loosen Compounding Regulation


By Walter F. Roche Jr.

Fifteen days after filing a bill to loosen federal regulation of drug compounders, a Virginia congressman got $5,000 in contributions from the political action committee formed by drug compounders.
Records at the Federal Election Commission show the $5,000 was donated to the campaign fund of H. Morgan Griffith, a Virginia Republican, on June 27. It wasn't the first contribution by the political action committee for the International Association of Compounding Pharmacists to Morgan. He also got  $5,000 in the previous election cycle.
On June 12, the day the bill was filed the IACP issued a press release praising Morgan and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat, for filing the bill entitled "Preserving Patient Access to Compounded Medications.
Charging that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been misinterpreting a new law, the Drug Quality and Security Act, passed in 2013, the IACP says the FDA is asserting "regulatory authority over the practice of pharmacy and medicine in a way Congress never intended."
As a result, the IACP says, patients are being deprived of easy access to drugs compounded by local pharmacists.
That new statute was passed in the wake of a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak that sickened 758 patients killing 76 of them. Many of the victims resided in Griffith's district which includes parts of Roanoke County
Dr. Richard Carome of Public Citizen already is warning that passage of the Morgan/Cuellar proposal will likely lead to a repeat of the 2012 outbreak.
That outbreak was caused by a Massachusetts drug compounding firm, the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass.
Next week the former president of NECC is scheduled to begin serving a nine year prison sentence  following his March conviction on racketeering, conspiracy and mail fraud charges.
Carome has charged that the main effect of the IACP proposal is to eliminate a requirement that there be a patient specific prescription before a drug can be compounded by a state licensed pharmacist.
Under the 2013 law congress created a new category of drug producers who can compound drugs without patient specific prescriptions but they must first register with the FDA and meet certain requirements.
Morgan 's proposal would create a loophole negating the effect of that requirement, Carome has charged.
The IACP, which holds an annual fundraiser in Washington, DC, has regularly supported congressional candidates backing their positions. FEC records show the IACP PAC raised $48,825 between Jan. 1 and June 30 of this year.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com








IACP Applauds the Leadership of Congressmen Griffith and Cuellar in Introducing Bill HR 2871

Wednesday, June 14, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Dagmar Anderson
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IACP Applauds the Leadership of Congressmen Griffith and Cuellar in Introducing Bill HR 2871
The “Preserving Patient Access to Compounded Medications Act of 2017†is a bipartisan effort to preserve patient access to vital compounded medications.

WASHINGTON – June 13, 2017 - The International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP) strongly supports new legislation, introduced by U.S. Congressmen Morgan Griffith (VA) and Henry Cuellar (TX), HR 2871 – The Preserving Patient Access to Compounded Medications Act of 2017, formally introduced on June 12, 2017. More than 300 compounding pharmacists traveled to Washington, D.C. on behalf of their patients and physicians to meet with their respective congressional representatives to discuss the Bill’s content, and to urge them to co-sponsor HR 2871.
  
IACP President Baylor Rice, RPh, FIACP, says, “On behalf of the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists and the patients we serve, thank you, Congressman Griffith and Congressman Cuellar, for your leadership in introducing the bipartisan legislation, HR 2871 - The Preserving Patient Access to Compounded Medications Act.

This important bill will help protect access to medications physicians rely upon for their patients. It will help clarify the Drug Quality & Security Act (DQSA) in a way that will better align the statute with congressional intent and better balance public safety and patient access. We applaud your dedication on behalf of patients, physicians, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers who are united in a mission to preserve patient safety and access to needed compounded medications pursuant to state and federal laws and regulations.â€
  
IACP consistently has said that maintaining access to potentially life-saving compounded medications is not only vital for patients; but, is consistent with the legislative intent of the DQSA. While reinforcing Section 503A of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) through the passage of the DQSA, Congress came together in a bipartisan and bicameral fashion to make clear that pharmacists’ ability to provide compounded medications for a physician’s administration to or treatment of a patient within their practice should be left to the States.

IACP, working with the DQSA Coalition, has worked with the FDA and Congress on improving the agency’s compounding policies in a way that better balances public safety with patient access to critical medications. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, FDA continues to misinterpret the DQSA and assert regulatory authority over the practice of pharmacy and medicine in a way Congress never intended.  Congress has, in the last two appropriations bills  (FY16 and FY17), included report language directing the FDA to alter their policies on compounding to align with congressional intent and the language of the statute.  FDA has, to date, ignored those congressional directives and continues to substitute their desired regulatory authority over compounding.

As such, it’s vital that Congress support HR 2871 in order to preserve patient access to compounded medications by directing FDA to act within Congressional intent.

About IACP

The International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP) is an association representing more than 4,000 pharmacists, technicians, students, and members of the compounding community who focus upon the specialty practice of pharmacy compounding. Compounding pharmacists work directly with prescribers including physicians, nurse practitioners and veterinarians to create customized medication solutions for patients and animals whose healthcare needs cannot be met by manufactured medications. IACP's mission of protecting, promoting and advancing personalized medication solutions is critical for patient healthcare.  Visit www.iacprx.org to learn more and to find a compounding pharmacist near you.

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Virginia Outbreak Settlement Approved


By Walter F. Roche Jr.

A federal judge has approved the $235,811 settlement of a suit brought by the family of a Virginia victim of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak who died on Jan. 6, 2013.
Under the approval by U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel, the two daughters and the spouse of the victim will each get $37,134.
The suit was filed against Insight Imaging and related companies involved in injecting the victim with fungus contaminated steroids.
Just last week the family of another Roanoke area victim filed documents showing a $916,951 settlement of their claim.
In the latest settlement legal fees totaling $94,324 will go the firm of Crandall and Kett, which represented the victim's survivors. An additional $8,674 will go for legal expenses and $21,409 will go to reimburse the federal Medicare program.
The suit was one of hundreds filed in the wake of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak which sickened 758 patients, killing 76 of them.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Infections Reported Following Joint Injections

From The CDC


Outbreak of Septic Arthritis Associated with Intra-Articular Injections at an Outpatient Practice — New Jersey, 2017


Kathleen Ross, MPH1,2; Jason Mehr, MPH1; Barbara Carothers1; Rebecca Greeley, MPH1; Isaac Benowitz, MD3; Lisa McHugh, MPH1; David Henry, MPH4; Lisa DiFedele, MPH1; Eric Adler, MPH1; Shereen Naqvi4; Edward Lifshitz, MD1; Christina Tan, MD1; Barbara Montana, MD1 (View author affiliations)
View suggested citation

Summary

What is already known about this topic?
Single-use medications, including pharmacy bulk packaged (PBP) products, typically lack antimicrobial preservatives and can become contaminated and serve as a source of microorganisms when handled inappropriately. Use of a PBP product as a multiple-dose container outside of pharmacy conditions could contaminate the container and serve as a source of pathogens for multiple patients.
What is added by this report?
In March 2017, an outbreak of 41 cases of septic arthritis associated with intra-articular injections administered at an outpatient practice occurred in New Jersey. A public health investigation identified multiple breaches of recommended infection prevention practices during the preparation and administration of PBP products, which are intended for single-use, in accordance with standards outlined by the United States Pharmacopeial Convention.
What are the implications for public health practice?
No additional septic arthritis cases were identified after infection prevention recommendations were implemented within the practice. The findings from this investigation highlight the need for better adherence to and oversight of basic infection prevention recommendations and sterile compounding standards in outpatient settings.

On March 6, 2017, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) was notified of three cases of septic arthritis in patients who had received intra-articular injections for osteoarthritic knee pain at a private outpatient practice. The practice voluntarily closed the next day. NJDOH, in conjunction with the local health department and the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners, conducted an investigation and identified 41 cases of septic arthritis associated with intra-articular injections administered during 250 patient visits at the same practice, including 30 (73%) patients who required surgery. Bacterial cultures of synovial fluid or tissue from 15 (37%) patients were positive; all recovered organisms were oral flora. An infection prevention assessment of the practice identified multiple breaches of recommended infection prevention practices, including inadequate hand hygiene, inappropriate use of pharmacy bulk packaged (PBP) products as multiple-dose containers and handling PBP products outside of required pharmacy conditions, and preparation of syringes up to 4 days in advance of their intended use. No additional septic arthritis cases were identified after infection prevention recommendations were implemented within the practice.

Investigation and Response

On March 6, 2017, Monmouth County Regional Health Commission No. 1 (MCRHC) notified NJDOH that three patients were hospitalized for septic arthritis after receiving intra-articular injections for osteoarthritis pain relief at practice A, a private outpatient facility where procedures were performed by two staff physicians with the aid of two medical assistants. On March 7, practice A voluntarily closed in response to a large number of reports of severe knee pain and swelling. On March 8, NJDOH notified the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners, which oversees physician licensure, to facilitate and coordinate a joint investigation.
A confirmed case of septic arthritis was defined as any one of the following in a patient who received intra-articular injections at practice A during March 1–6, 2017: 1) isolation of any microorganism from synovial fluid or tissue collected from the injected joint, 2) positive Gram stain of synovial fluid, 3) synovial fluid white blood cell count of >20,000/mm3, and 4) recipient of intravenous antibiotics or surgical debridement for a clinical diagnosis of septic arthritis.
Among 250 patient visits involving knee intra-articular injections at practice A during March 1–6, NJDOH identified 41 confirmed cases (16%) of septic arthritis. Patients had been scheduled over 3 consecutive clinic days (March 1, March 2, and March 6) with no apparent clustering by appointment time; the same physician administered all injections on these 3 days. Information on time of symptom onset was available for 38 (93%) of 41 patients and ranged from zero to 65* days after injection; 35 (92%) of the 38 patients developed symptoms within 48 hours of the procedure. Thirty (73%) of the 41 patients required surgery.
All 41 patients had synovial fluid or knee tissue obtained during surgery collected for culture, and cultures were positive for 15 (37%) patients. Bacteria recovered included Streptococcus mitis-oralis (10 patients), Abiotrophia defectiva (two), Staphylococcus aureus (two), Actinomyces odontolyticus (one), alpha-hemolytic Streptococcus (one), Eikenella corrodens (one), Haemophilus parainfluenzae (one), Neisseria oralis (one), Streptococcus gordonii (one), Streptococcus intermedius-milleri (one), Streptococcus sanguinis (one), and Veillonella (one); five patients had polymicrobial infections. Cultures from 26 (63%) patients were negative. All recovered organisms are commonly found in oral flora (1,2). In addition to bacteria recovered from culture of synovial fluid or tissue, Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from the blood of two patients.
On March 13, MCRHC, NJDOH, and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs representing the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners conducted an unannounced visit to practice A to inspect the premises, interview staff members, observe infection prevention practices, and review records. Because the practice remained closed to patients at this time, mock procedures were observed during the visit.
Multiple breaches in infection prevention recommendations were identified. Staff members did not have access to a handwashing sink, and alcohol-based hand rub was not available in medication preparation or treatment areas. Staff members, operating under the mistaken belief that PBP products could be used as multiple-dose containers outside of pharmacy conditions (e.g., use of a laminar flow hood, appropriate garbing, staff training, and environmental monitoring), accessed a 50 mL PBP container of contrast material up to 50 times to prepare syringes for multiple patients, with the septum of the container cleaned with alcohol only before the initial draw. Staff members prepared injections in a separate room, away from the patient treatment area; however, pharmacy conditions necessary for batch preparation of syringes and use of PBP products were not in place. In addition, injectable medications were drawn into syringes by medical assistants up to 4 days in advance of procedures, contrary to the recommended practice of administering medication from single-dose vials within 1 hour of preparation (3).
Injections were initiated using a needle and syringe filled with local anesthetic. After injecting the anesthetic, the physician removed the syringe, leaving the needle within the intra-articular space. A second syringe containing contrast material from the PBP container was then attached to the needle hub and used to facilitate fluoroscopic needle placement. This was followed by replacement with a third syringe containing a glucocorticoid or hyaluronic acid–based product. The physician did not wear a face mask during joint injection procedures and used nonsterile gloves to manipulate the needle hub during procedures.
Practice A was advised to immediately stop batch preparation of syringes and use of PBP products for multiple patients and to hire an infection preventionist to assess staff competency and ensure that hand hygiene, standard precautions, and safe injection practices were followed. No additional cases occurred after these measures were implemented.

Discussion

An investigation of 41 cases of septic arthritis associated with intra-articular injections at an outpatient practice in New Jersey identified multiple breaches of recommended infection prevention practices during the preparation and administration of PBP products, which are intended for use in a pharmacy setting, using standards outlined by the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) (3,4). PBP products are restricted to preparation of admixtures only in a suitable work area as defined by USP, such as in a laminar flow hood, and handled in accordance with sterile compounding standards outlined by the manufacturer and USP (3,4). CDC guidelines call for medications labeled as “single-dose” or “single-use” to be used for only one patient (5,6). Single-use medications, including PBP products, typically lack antimicrobial preservatives and can become contaminated and serve as a source of microorganisms when handled inappropriately (6). Use of a PBP product as a multiple-dose container outside of pharmacy conditions could contaminate the container and serve as a source of pathogens for multiple patients. Because practice A used a single PBP container of contrast material for as many as 50 patients, contamination of only a single container could account for the large number of cases identified in this outbreak.
Proper hand hygiene should be performed before handling any medications. In addition, batch preparation of medication for future administration should be performed in accordance with sterile compounding standards recommended by USP (3).
In this outbreak, all pathogens isolated were oral flora. CDC recommends that health care personnel wear face masks for spinal injection procedures that require injection of material or insertion of a catheter into epidural or subdural spaces (e.g., myelogram, administration of spinal or epidural anesthesia, or intrathecal chemotherapy) (5). Multiple outbreaks have demonstrated the risk for bacterial meningitis associated with droplet transmission of oral flora from health care personnel to patients during spinal injection procedures. The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology recommends the use of a face mask to contain respiratory droplets when preparing and injecting material into an intra-articular space (7). The use of multiple syringes with a single intra-articular needle could serve as a conduit for organisms to enter directly into the joint space if the needle hub is left exposed to potential respiratory droplets. Although this is a potential mechanism for a single case, it is unlikely to explain the large number of cases identified in this outbreak.
No additional septic arthritis cases were identified after infection prevention recommendations were implemented within the practice. The findings from this investigation highlight the need for better adherence to and oversight of basic infection prevention recommendations and sterile compounding standards in outpatient settings (8,9).

Conflict of Interest

No conflicts of interest were reported.

Corresponding author: Kathleen Ross, Kathleen.Ross@

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Cadden Says Any Forfeiture Should Be Limited

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

The convicted pharmacist and drug executive facing a nine-year jail term says any money forfeiture should be limited to a little under $250,000 and not the $75 million sought by federal prosecutors.
In a 10-page filing in U.S. District Court in Boston, Mass., Barry J. Cadden's lawyers also argued that the court does not even have jurisdiction to order forfeiture because Cadden has filed formal notice that he is appealing his conviction to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.
Cadden contends in the filing that the total proceeds from the racketeering activities on which he was convicted were only about $1.4 million, not the $75 million claimed by federal prosecutors.
"The appropriate starting point for the court's forfeiture calculation is the analysis the court undertook for determining the loss amount for the purpose of sentencing," the filing states.
In addition Cadden's lawyer charged that the government ignored a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling placing limits on some forfeiture orders.
"The government makes no genuine attempt to satisfy the rule of proportionality," the filing continues, noting that Cadden only owned 17.5 percent of the New England Compounding Center, the company blamed for a deadly 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak.
"The NECC enterprise is defunct and Mr. Cadden has no interest in it," the filing states.
Cadden has been ordered to report to the federal Bureau of Prisons on Aug. 7 to begin serving his sentence. He was convicted on March 22 of 57 counts of racketeering, conspiracy and mail fraud.
Cadden has asked to serve his sentence at a federal prison in central Massachusetts.not far from his Wrentham, Mass. home.


Sterile Drugs Subject to Recall


Safety


Cantrell Drug Company Issues Voluntary Recall of Select Sterile Drug Products Due to Lack of Sterility Assurance

For Immediate Release

November 18, 2016

Contact

Consumers

Cantrell Drug Company
877-666-5222

Media

David Ball
david@ballcg.com
617-243-9950

Announcement

Little Rock, AK - Cantrell Drug Company is voluntarily recalling certain unexpired sterile drug products due to lack of sterility assurance.
The recalled products, distributed nationwide to health care facilities from May 25 to October 31, 2016, are the following:
Drug Product Name NDC Lot Number Manufacture Date Beyond Use Date
CALCIUM CHLORIDE 1 G ADDED TO 5% DEXTROSE 50 ML BAG 52533-175-37 169170 10/15/2016 1/5/2017
CALCIUM CHLORIDE 10 G IN 0.9% SODIUM CHLORIDE 500 ML BAG 52533-102-09 168032 9/12/2016 12/11/2016
CALCIUM CHLORIDE 10% INJECTION SOLUTION 10 ML VIAL n/a 169924 10/26/2016 4/15/2017
FENTANYL CITRATE 10 MCG/ML IN 0.9% SODIUM CHLORIDE 150 ML BAG 52533-024-35 9002 9/6/2016 3/5/2017
FENTANYL CITRATE 10 MCG/ML IN 0.9% SODIUM CHLORIDE 250 ML BAG 52533-024-61 8990 8/31/2016 2/27/2017
FENTANYL CITRATE 2 MCG/ML & BUPIVACAINE HCL 0.125% IN 0.9% SODIUM CHLORIDE 100 ML BAG
52533-080-75 8942 8/23/2016 2/19/2017
FENTANYL CITRATE 2 MCG/ML & BUPIVACAINE HCL 0.125% IN 0.9% SODIUM CHLORIDE 250 ML BAG 52533-080-61 9029 9/12/2016 3/11/2017
FENTANYL CITRATE 2 MCG/ML & BUPIVACAINE HCL 0.125% IN 0.9% SODIUM CHLORIDE 100 ML BAG 52533-080-75 9207 10/19/2016 04/17/2017
GLYCOPYRROLATE 0.2 MG/ML INJECTION SOLUTION 5 ML SYRINGE 52533-028-15 9006 9/7/2016 1/20/2017
GLYCOPYRROLATE 0.2 MG/ML INJECTION SOLUTION 5 ML SYRINGE 52533-028-15 8757 7/18/2016 11/30/2016
GLYCOPYRROLATE 0.2 MG/ML INJECTION SOLUTION 5 ML SYRINGE 52533-028-15 8954 8/24/2016 1/6/2017
GLYCOPYRROLATE 0.2 MG/ML INJECTION SOLUTION 5 ML SYRINGE 52533-028-15 9174 10/11/2016 2/20/2017
HEPARIN SODIUM 0.5 USP UNITS/ML IN 0.45% SODIUM CHLORIDE 2 ML SYRINGE 52533-148-16 9220 10/20/2016 4/18/2017
HEPARIN SODIUM 5,000 USP UNITS ADDED TO 0.9% SODIUM CHLORIDE 1,000 ML BAG 52533-097-24 167081 8/18/2016 2/14/2017
HYDROMORPHONE HCL 0.2 MG/ML IN 0.9% SODIUM CHLORIDE 30 ML SYRINGE 52533-002-03 8742 7/13/2016 1/9/2017
HYDROMORPHONE HCL 1 MG/ML IN 0.9% SODIUM CHLORIDE 30 ML PCA VIAL 52533-006-10 163941 6/21/2016 11/30/2016
HYDROMORPHONE HCL 1 MG/ML IN 0.9% SODIUM CHLORIDE 50 ML SYRINGE 52533-006-04 9016 9/9/2016 3/7/2017
LIDOCAINE HCL 1% INJECTION SOLUTION 10 ML SYRINGE n/a 165538 7/19/2016 1/8/2017
MIDAZOLAM HCL 1 MG/ML IN 0.9% SODIUM CHLORIDE 50 ML SYRINGE 52533-001-04 169619 10/20/2016 2/7/2017
MORPHINE SULFATE 1 MG/ML IN 0.9% SODIUM CHLORIDE 100 ML BAG 52533-160-75 8625 6/18/2016 12/15/2016
NEOSTIGMINE METHYLSULFATE 1 MG/ML INJECTION SOLUTION 5 ML SYRINGE 52533-046-15 8997 9/2/2016 12/1/2016
NEOSTIGMINE METHYLSULFATE 1 MG/ML INJECTION SOLUTION 5 ML SYRINGE 52533-046-15 9246 10/26/2016 1/23/2017
OXYTOCIN 30 USP UNITS ADDED TO 0.9% SODIUM CHLORIDE 500 ML BAG 52533-056-30 9210 10/19/2016 1/17/2017
PHENYLEPHRINE HCL 100 MCG/ML IN 0.9% SODIUM CHLORIDE 10 ML SYRINGE 52533-171-12 8502 5/25/2016 11/21/2016
PHENYLEPHRINE HCL 100 MCG/ML IN 0.9% SODIUM CHLORIDE 10 ML SYRINGE 52533-171-12 8962 8/25/2016 2/21/2017
ROCURONIUM BROMIDE 10 MG/ML INJECTION SOLUTION 5 ML SYRINGE 52533-064-15 8995 9/1/2016 2/28/2017
ROPIVACAINE HCL 0.25% IN 0.9% SODIUM CHLORIDE 100 ML BAG 52533-185-75 169064 10/20/2016 1/2/2017
SUCCINYLCHOLINE CHLORIDE 20 MG/ML INJECTION SOLUTION 10 ML SYRINGE 52533-067-12 169262 10/11/2016 1/8/2017
SUCCINYLCHOLINE CHLORIDE 20 MG/ML INJECTION SOLUTION 10 ML SYRINGE 52533-067-12 169812 10/24/2016 1/19/2017
Administration of a drug product intended to be sterile that is not sterile could result in serious infections that may be life-threatening.  The company has not received any reports of adverse events, but is issuing this recall out of an abundance of caution following a recent inspection of the company’s facility.
Cantrell Drug Company will begin notifying its customers by email and phone and is arranging for the return of all recalled products.  Consumers who have product subject to the recall should stop using it and contact the company.
“Because patient safety is our top priority, we immediately began addressing the issues raised and are working closely with health officials,” said Dell McCarley, Chairman & CEO of Cantrell Drug Company.  “We have received no reports of injury or illness, and it’s important to note that all of our sterile products are tested for sterility before they are shipped.  We deeply regret the impact this voluntary recall has on providers and patients, but our culture is one of safety first and we take absolutely no chances.”
To return medication or request assistance related to this recall, contact Cantrell Drug Company at 877-666-5222, Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST.
Adverse reactions or quality problems experienced with the use of this product may be reported to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail or by fax.
This recall is being conducted with the knowledge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
###
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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Approval Sought for Viriginia Victim's Family


By Walter F. Roche Jr.

A federal judge is being asked to approve a settlement of nearly $1 million  and approve a distribution plan to heirs in the case of a woman who died after being injected with a steroid contaminated with a deadly fungus.
In papers filed last week, the attorney for the estate of the Virginia victim of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak reported that a $916,951.46 settlement was reached in the suit brought by the victim's granddaughter against Insight Health and related parties.
The filing seeks the final approval of the settlement by U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel.
According to the petition the law firm of Crandall and Kett will be paid $366,780 in legal fees, the federal Medicare program will get $84,386 and the Virginia Medicaid program will receive $24,458.
The remaining $416,225, after expenses and other fees, will be split among 12 beneficiaries, but the petition states that the 12 were unable to agree on a distribution plan.
As a result Zobel is being asked to hold a hearing and then make a decision on who gets what. The petition states that some of the so-called statutory beneficiaries have indicated they wish to testify at the hearing.
The petition also notes that the granddaughter who filed the suit is the executor of the estate and she was the grandmother's caretaker when the latter died in late 2013.
The case is one of hundreds stemming from the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak cause by fungus laden steroids shipped by a Massachusetts drug compounding firm. The cases were consolidated before Zobel.
Victims or their survivors also qualify for payments from a separate fund created under the bankruptcy of the New England Compounding Center, the firm that produced the tainted drugs.
According to the filing all but one of the 12 beneficiaries has been notified, but efforts to locate one son of the victim were unsuccessful. Despite extensive research, the filing states, they were unable to even determine if the son was dead or alive.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Some Outbreak Victims Payments Delayed to 2021


By Walter F. Roche Jr.

 Final payments to victims of a national fungal meningitis outbreak may be delayed until March of 2021, an attorney told a federal judge today.
Michael Gottfried, the attorney for the post confirmation officer in the bankruptcy of the New England Compounding Center, said the delay was necessary because the IRS has four years to challenge tax refunds granted to NECC's former owners.
He told U.S.District Judge Rya Zobel that a total of $12 million in tax refunds collected by NECC's former owners has been earmarked for a national settlement fund for outbreak victims and is now being held in an escrow account.
Calling the $12 million a significant asset, Gottfriend said, "The hope would be that the IRS would not challenge."
Though Gottfried said the delay was "not a surprise to anyone," Zobel responded "It is to me."
According to a motion filed by Gottfried in behalf Paul D. Moore, the post confirmation officer, about $180 million has been collected under the NECC bankruptcy plan for eventual distribution to creditors and outbreak victims.
The 2012 outbreak was caused by steroids contaminated with fungus that were shipped from NECC to health care providers in 20 states. The outbreak sickened 758 patients, killing 76 of them.
About $85.7 million from the settlement fund has been distributed, according to a report submitted to Zobel earlier this week.
Victims can expect to receive a second payment in 30 to 45 days, according to the report and court testimony. However, final payments totaling $12 million, cannot be released until 2021, Gottfried told the court.
During the same court session Gottfried and Thomas Sobol, who heads a committee representing plaintiffs in the NECC bankruptcy, argued over bills totaling a little over $200,000 which Moore wants paid from the national settlement fund.
Sobol argued that the money should not be released because Moore "has decided to not tell us what he is doing."
Gottfried responded stating that under the bankruptcy plan Moore does not need approval from the court or anyone else.
"We think that the court should order the trustee (of the settlement fund) not to pay the funds requested," Sobol stated.
Following further argument, Zobel said she would defer to the bankruptcy court judge who already has scheduled a hearing for early next month.
Zobel also was given a status report on civil cases filed against a Maryland clinic where many outbreak victims were injected with tainted steroids. Some of those cases are being handled in Maryland state courts, while others remain before Zobel.
Zobel set an initial Feb. 26 trial date for the first case remaining in her court.
Ben Gastel, a Nashville Tenn. lawyer, reported that efforts to mediate a settlement of cases filed against a Crossville, Tenn. were continuing.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Trustee Reports on Outbreak Victims' Payments


By Walter F. Roche Jr.

The trustee overseeing a national settlement fund for victims of a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak says 2,026 patients have now been fully or partially approved for payment.
Lynne F. Riley filed the report today in U.S. District Court in Boston, Mass. She reported that a total of $85.77 million has been approved for distribution and initial checks have been sent out for 1,711 claimants.
The settlement fund was created under the bankruptcy of the New England Compounding Center, the company blamed for the deadly 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak.
According to federal court records, 76 patients died after being injected with fungus tainted steroids shipped from MECC's Framingham, Mass. headquarters. A total of 758 patients were sickened, many of them suffering fungal meningitis.
Riley's report was filed in advance of a hearing tomorrow before U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel, who has been overseeing the hundreds of civil cases stemming from the outbreak.
Her reports states that 2,352 claims were filed with Epiq, the company hired to process claims. She said 284 claims were finally denied.
In addition to the 1,711 checks mailed to victims from the national settlement fund, Riley reported that checks were mailed for 214 victims who filed claims against the health providers who injected them with the fungus laden steroids.
Victims are expected to get a second check approximately equal to the initial payment and Riley said those second payments are expected to be issued in about 45 days.
In prior reports she also stated that a third set of payments is likely to be issued depending on anticipated tax refunds that are earmarked for the national settlement fund.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com

Monday, July 17, 2017

U.S. Attorney Appeals Cadden Sentence


By Walter F. Roche Jr.

The Acting U.S. Attorney in Boston, Mass. has filed formal notice that he is appealing the nine year sentence imposed on a pharmacist who was convicted on 57 counts of racketeering, conspiracy and mail fraud.
According to the notice filed by Acting U.S. Attorney William Weinreb, the appeal will be filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston.
Cadden, the one time president of a drug compounding company, has filed notice that he will appeal his conviction.
Cadden's 10 week trial ended March 22. He was sentenced late last month. Prosecutors had asked U.S. District Judge to impose a 35 year sentence.
Cadden and 13 others connected to the now defunct New England Compounding Center, were indicted following a two year probe of a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak that sickened 758 patients, killing 76 of them.
In a related development Stearns has set new time limits for prosecutors and the defense in the upcoming trial of co-defendant Glenn Chin.
Although he said he would consider additional time "if exigencies of trial so require," his order limits prosecutors to 75 hours and the defense to 20 hours. He had previously set a 60 hour limit for the prosecution.
Like Cadden, Chin was charged with 25 counts of second degree murder, racketeering and mail fraud. Cadden was acquitted on the second degree murder charges. He is scheduled to begin serving his sentence Aug. 7.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hearing Set on Conigliaro Dismissal Motion



By Walter F. Roche Jr.




A hearing is set for next week on the only charge faced by an executive and part owner of a now defunct drug compounding firm blamed for a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak,
Seeking dismissal of a charge that he conspired to defraud the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is Gregory A. Conigliaro, who was vice president and part owner of the New England Compounding Center.
The hearing Tuesday will be held before a federal judge, who already has raised questions about the conspiracy charge.
On March 13 during the 10 week  trial of Barry J. Cadden U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns said, "It's hard for me to see what the FDA was defrauded of."
Conigliaro's lawyer cited that comment in a nine-page motion to have the conspiracy charge tossed.
Two other defendants, Alla Stepanets and Sharon Carter, joined in the motion.
Cadden was convicted on 57 counts including racketeering and mail fraud and has been sentenced to a nine year prison term.
Federal prosecutors responded to the dismissal motion by citing the fact that Stearns already has denied similar motions on the same charge.
"Count three clearly sets forth the elements necessary to constitute the crime of conspiracy," the 17-page prosecution filing states.
All of the defendants were indicted in December of 2014 following a two year federal probe of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that took the lives of 76 patients in 20 states. State and federal regulators concluded that fungus riddled steroids produced by NECC caused the outbreak.
In the motion to dismiss, Conigliaro's lawyer cited testimony by FDA officials who told a congressional committee that the FDA did not have clear legal authority over pharmacies like NECC.
"It was impossible for the FDA to be defrauded in the manner the government alleged," the motion states.
The motion concludes that the conspiracy charge is "a pure legal impossibility."
Prosecutors responded by stating, "Tricking and interfering with the FDA is not legally impossible."
The indictment charges that Conigliaro and other NECC employees falsely claimed to the FDA that NECC was not acting as a manufacturer and that it compounded drugs only with patient specific prescriptions.
It cited an Oct. 1, 2004 letter Conigliaro sent to the FDA.
 "We are a small scale, family run compounding pharmacy only, not a manufacturer," Conigliaro wrote.
Conigliaro wore multiple hats at NECC, according to the indictment. In addition to being a vice president, he was secretary, treasurer and general manager.He was also a director and part owner of NECC's sales arm, Medical Sales Management.
Stepanets, who was a licensed pharmacist, already has been cleared of a charge that she violated the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Stearns dismissed that charge on Oct. 4 of last year.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com



Saturday, July 8, 2017

Prosecutors Seek $75.5 Million From Cadden

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to order a former drug company president to forfeit $75.5 million following his conviction on racketeering and conspiracy charges.
In a filing this week in U.S. District Court in Boston, Mass. prosecutors said the $75.5 million represents the gross proceeds received by Cadden's company, the New England Compounding Center, from March 26, 2010 and October of 2012 when NECC was shutdown.
The gross proceeds, according to the motion, were computed by an accountant, Roger H. Edwards, who also testified for the prosecution during Cadden's ten week trial.
Cadden was convicted by a jury on March 22. He was sentenced to a nine year prison sentence by U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns last month.
In a related development this week Cadden filed notice that he is appealing both his conviction and the prison sentence.
The government forfeiture motion argues that the forfeiture should not be reduced as a result of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. In that case the court ruled that a Tennessee man could not be required to forfeit money when he did not actually profit from the illegal activity.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amanda Strachan and George Varghese said the so-called Honeycutt ruling should not apply to the racketeering charges on which Cadden was convicted.
In the alternative, they argued, if Stearns determines the ruling does apply, then Cadden should be ordered to forfeit $13.2 million.
The $13.2 million is the amount Cadden and his wife Lisa received during the same time period, according to the government's computation. Lisa Cadden was a shareholder in NECC.
While Cadden was convicted on racketeering, conspiracy and mail fraud charges, the jury acquitted him on second degree murder charges.
Codefendant Glenn Chin is scheduled to go on trial on Sept. 19. He too is facing second degree murder charges.
The two were among 14 persons connected to NECC who were indicted following a federal probe of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak caused by fungus laden steroids from the drug compounding firm. Some 76 patients in 20 states died in the outbreak.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com

Friday, July 7, 2017

Judge Limits Length Of Chin Trial

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

A federal judge has issued an order sharply limiting the time prosecutors can take to present their case against the second major defendant in the criminal case stemming from a deadly 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak.
The order by U.S. District Judge Richard G, Stearns limits prosecutors to 60 hours to present their case against Glenn Chinn, who is facing second degree murder and racketeering charges. The order also would limit Chinn's lawyers to 20 hours. That would mean the trial, excluding jury deliberations, would last about four weeks.
Federal prosecutors responded by asking Stearn to amend his order and nearly double their allotted time to 100 hours to present their case in his Boston, Mass. courtroom. The time for cross examination would be included in that limit.
Chinn's lawyers responded by urging Stearns to reject the request from the U.S. Attorney William Weinreb and Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Strachan.
In setting the time limits, Stearns wrote,"The court will expand the times only on a showing of necessity as the trial proceeds.:
The dispute over the time limits comes in the wake of the 10 week marathon trial of co-defendant Barry J. Cadden.
Cadden, the one time president and part owner of the New England Compounding Center, was sentenced to a nine year prison term following his conviction on racketeering, conspiracy and mail fraud charges.
Cadden and Chin are two of 14 persons connected to NECC to be indicted following a two year probe of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak which took the lives of 76 patients across the country. State and federal regulators concluded that fungus riddled steroids from NECC caused the outbreak.
Stearns served notice shortly after the Cadden trial began that he intended to place time limits on the subsequent trial. He told both sides to submit proposals setting limits.
Prosecutors initially proposed a 75 hour or six week limit to present its case exclusive of cross examination.
In urging Stearns to reject the request from prosecutors, Stephen Weymouth, Chin's lawyer said the judge's limit "fairly balances" the considerations set out in Stearns' February order.
"As the court's present and past experience teaches, time limits focus the presentation of the attorneys to the benefit of the jurors, the court and, ultimately, the lawyers themselves," Weymouth wrote.
Transcripts of bench conferences during the Cadden trial revealed that the judge and jurors were frustrated by the pace of the trial.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Judge Blocks Testimony from FDA, Cadden et al



By Walter F. Roche Jr.




A magistrate judge today denied a motion filed in behalf of two Tennessee clinics seeking to take sworn testimony from federal health officials and defendants and witnesses in the criminal case stemming from a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak.
Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal turned down the request to depose Barry J. Cadden, Robert Ronzio, Joseph Connolly and John Notarianni. She also rejected a request by clinic lawyers to take testimony from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Lawyers for clinics in Crossville and Oak Ridge, Tenn. had asked that an existing stay barring the depositions be lifted.
The clinics are defendants in civil suits brought by victims of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak caused by fungus laden drugs shipped from Cadden's company, the New England Compounding Center to health facilities around the country. The suits were consolidated before a federal judge in Boston, Mass.
The clinics had argued that the stay was no longer needed because Cadden was convicted in late March on 57 felony counts including racketeering and mail fraud. He also has been sentenced to a nine year prison term.
Boal, however, said the case against Cadden has not been finally resolved and while Ronzio has entered a guilty plea to a conspiracy charge, he has not been sentenced.
Cadden was president and part owner of NECC. Ronzio was NECC's national sales director.
Joseph Connolly, a former NECC employee, was a witness at Cadden's 10 week trial and is likely to be called to testify against codefendant Glenn Chin, whose trial is scheduled for September. John Notarianni, a former salesman for an NECC affiliate, also could be called as a witness.
In her brief order, Boal noted that circumstances had changed since the original stay was issued. At that time Cadden and Chin were scheduled to be tried at the same time, but the presiding judge subsequently severed the cases.
The motion to lift the stay was filed in behalf of the Specialty Surgery Center in Crossville, Tenn. and the PCA Pain Center in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Suits filed against a third Tennessee clinic, the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center in Nashville have been resolved under the terms of a confidential settlement estimated in excess of $20 million.
The 2012 outbreak sickened 778 patients in 20 states, killing at least 76 of them. In Tennessee 153 patients were sickened and 16 of them died.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com

















Friday, June 30, 2017

Law Firms to Share $1.6 million +



By Walter F. Roche Jr.


Six law firms will share at least $1.6 million from the settlement of cases brought against a Nashville, Tenn. clinic in the aftermath of a deadly fungal meningitis outbreak.
In a series of motions filed today in U.S. District Court in Boston, Mass., the law firms are asking U.S. District Judge Rya W. Zobel to approve the fees but also to keep the amount of the payments secret.
Under the proposal the law firms will share 8 percent of the total awarded to victims. While that figure has never been disclosed, it is reported to be in excess of $20 million. The settlement resolves claims filed by 114 patients or their survivors who were injected with a fungus laden steroid in 2012 at the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgical Center.
The firms sharing the fees are Hagens, Berman, Branstetter Stranch and Jennings, Ellis and Rapacki, Lief Cabraser Heiman and Bernstein, Kinnard Clayton and Beveridge and Leader Bulso and Nolan.
"The 8 percent assessment has been the level of reasonable expectation of counsel and the claimants from the earliest stages of the multi-district litigation," the motion states.
"Significant good work was performed by many lawyers in pursuing claims asserted in the Saint Thomas cases," the filing states.
In a report filed earlier this week in the same court case, it was reported that checks  have been processed for 90 of the 114 victims who filed claims against Saint Thomas. The payments represent about 90 percent of the total each victim is expected to finally receive.
The payments from the Saint Thomas settlement are separate from payments victims are slated to get from a nation settlement fund established under the bankruptcy of the New England Compounding Center, the Massachusetts firm that shipped the tainted methylprednisolone acetate to health providers across the country.
Some of the same law firms are sharing $6.2 million from a separate legal action stemming from the 2012 outbreak. Those fees were detailed earlier this week in a report also filed in Boston.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Outbreak Fund Paid $37.8 Million to Victims, $6.2 Million to Lawyers


By Walter F. Roche Jr.

An annual report by the trustee of a fund to benefit victims of a deadly 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak shows some $37.8 million has been distributed to 2,022 victims while a nearly equal amount could be issued later this year.
The lengthy report from Lynne F. Riley was filed today in U.S. District Court in Boston, Mass. It covers the 12 month period ending on May 31 of this year.
Though the names of victims are not disclosed, the report shows the largest single payment to a victim or survivor of a victim was $142,692. The smallest was $649.61. The average payment was $18,694. Sixty of the victims collected $100,000 or more.
The fund was created under the bankruptcy of the New England Compounding Center, the now defunct firm blamed for the 2012 outbreak of fungal meningitis. According to federal officials some 778 patients were sickened by fungus infested methylprednisolone acetate from NECC. Seventy six of those patients died.
The checks issued to victims represent about half of what each victim is expected to ultimately receive when the next distributions are made. In prior reports the trustee indicated a third round of payments may come still later.
Riley also listed $6.2 million in disbursements to law firms from a so-called common benefit fund set up to pay lawyers who did work for the benefit of all victims.
The largest amount, $1.25 million, went to the lead plaintiff firm Hagen Berman Sobel and Shapiro. Ellis and Rapacki was paid $775,725, while Branstetter Stranch and Jennings was paid $730,146 and Janet Jenner and Suggs collected $518,912.
The law firms, like the victims, will be getting a second round of payments approximately equal to the first
Riley's report also provided details on additional payments made to victims who were treated at three facilities.
Payments totaling just under $2 million were made to 13 victims treated at a North Carolina clinic while $10.6 million went to 39 claimants at a New Jersey facility and $31.5 million went to 163 victims treated at a Virginia facility.
Additional expenses for the national fund include $293,611 paid to the Duane Morris law firm and Paul Moore, the post bankruptcy confirmation officer. The fund had $74.4 million on deposit as of the end of the 12 month period.
Riley reported that a total of 2,353 claims were filed for the national fund and 2,022 of those were fully or partially paid while 289 were fully denied. Forty were found invalid and two were withdrawn.
Contact: wfrochejr999@gmail.com