Victims of the 2012 Fungal Meningitis Outbreak encouraged to File Claims

Tainted New England Compounding Center injections found to be source of outbreak that affected over 700 in 23 states

LANSING, MI – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is encouraging victims of the 2012 multistate fungal meningitis outbreak to submit their claims to receive part of a $40 million special victim compensation fund that helps pay for certain out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a direct result of having received tainted injections manufactured and distributed by Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center (NECC). The deadline for submitting an application form is December 16, 2017.

“No amount of money could truly compensate for the fatalities and long lasting health challenges that resulted from this gross oversight,” said Schuette. “However, I encourage any Michigan citizens who were hurt by these injections to file a claim and secure at least some compensation for the loss they incurred.”

Livingston County was one of the hardest hit areas, with a total of 15 people who received tainted steroid injections dying as a result of the infection. Many more were left to deal with painful and permanent side effects. In total, the outbreak affected over 700 victims in 23 states.

The funds come from the federal Victims of Crime Act, and were granted to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office for distribution by the Office for Victims of Crime of the U.S. Department of Justice. It will offer up to $50,000 for individuals who were catastrophically injured or died from the contaminated injections. The money is intended to help pay for uninsured medical care and income lost because of an inability to work. No victim has received compensation from this settlement yet.

Filing a Claim

You are eligible to file a claim for compensation if:

  • You have previously been identified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office or FBI as a victim or surviving family member of a deceased victim; or
  • You are on the U.S. Department of Justice’s Victim Notification System connected to the federal prosecution.

If you were not already identified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office or FBI, or counted by the FDA, CDC, or a state health department, you may still be eligible to file a claim for compensation if you meet ALL of the criteria below:

  • Received an injection of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate between May 1 and October 15, 2012;
  • Received one of the NECC-produced lots 05212012@68, 06292012@26, or 08102012@51; and
  • Developed fungal meningitis or certain other fungal infections as a result of the injection(s).

If you believe you meet all of the criteria above, please submit an application form to initiate a review for eligibility. However, if you are uncertain if you meet all of the criteria, you may still submit an application to initiate a review for eligibility. Survivors and/or dependents of a family member who meets or met the criteria above may also file a claim for compensation to initiate a review for eligibility.

To submit an application electronically: Victims of New England Compounding Center, Application for Compensation

To submit an application in hard-copy, you may request an application by:

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office is currently building the Mass. NECC Compensation Project within their Victim Compensation and Assistance Division. This project aims to be more responsive to the needs and interests of NECC victims, survivors, and their families, while complying with state and federal rules related to Victims of Crime Compensation.

Case Background

In the fall of 2012, a multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis and other infections was caused by the use of injections containing contaminated preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (MPA) manufactured and distributed by the NECC. Across more than twenty states, at least 778 cases of diagnosed fungal infections resulted in the death of 76 individuals. This resulted in an investigation led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with the Federal Drug Administration and state health departments.

In December 2014, 14 individuals were federally indicted with 131 criminal acts in connection to the outbreak. These include a combined 25 counts of second degree murder in Michigan, Tennessee, Indiana, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, and North Carolina. Their prosecution is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.

Michigan Action Against NECC

Soon after, Schuette acted to suspend the company’s pharmacy license in the state of Michigan on October 12, 2012, following verified reports that NECC was responsible for this meningitis outbreak. In a formal Complaint and Order of Summary Suspension filed with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), Schuette alleged that NECC acted as a “drug manufacturer” – not a compounding facility – by distributing large amounts of medication to various hospitals and clinics in Michigan. The Massachusetts company had only been licensed to fill individual prescriptions for Michigan patients as a compounding facility. NECC’s license was suspended and the company was forced to cease operations in Michigan.

On December 12, 2012, the Michigan Board of Pharmacy Disciplinary Subcommittee formally agreed to the license surrender, and NECC voluntarily surrendered their Michigan pharmacy and controlled substance licenses. As a result, NECC can no longer do business in the state of Michigan, and its surrender was reported as a disciplinary surrender to other states. The order provides that the surrender is based on a breach of Michigan’s Public Health Code, which allows the State of Michigan to deny licensure to any individual who had a financial interest in NECC and applies for a new pharmacy license in the future.

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