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Could government regulators have prevented meningitis outbreak?

The recent nationwide outbreak of meningitis was traced to a compounding pharmacy that distributed tainted injections, but further evidence shows that government regulators may also have been lax in their oversight of the pharmacy. In fact, Colorado regulators were the first to raise the alarm about these medication errors months before about unsafe injections that could lead to illness or death of victims.

Colorado pharmacy regulators filed a complaint about the company in July 2012, alleging that the pharmacy had violated terms of its license. Specifically, Colorado officials stated that the pharmacy was not using patient-specific prescriptions to distribute medications to hospitals in our state.

The director of the state board that governed the pharmacy in question promised a thorough review. However, that review apparently never came, and this week the Department of Public Health announced that the head of the state's pharmacy board has been fired and others have been put on leave over the incident.

Unfortunately, several people have already lost their lives and many others have been injured by the pharmacy's negligence and the bureaucracy's failure to act. This case illustrates the dangers that can occur when companies or even government watchdogs neglect to do their jobs. Although there is no proof that the meningitis outbreak would have been prevented by an investigation, it could be reasonable to assume that a closer look at the pharmacy's procedures might have raised questions prior to the outbreak.

A personal injury attorney can represent victims who have been injured or the families of those who have been killed by prescription drug mistakes such as these. Cases involving unsafe drugs may include volumes of complicated documents and details, but, with the right advice, victims can determine if they have grounds for a lawsuit against the negligent parties who contributed to a tragic injury or death.

Source: The Boston Herald, "The big pharmacy failure," Nov. 9, 2012

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