A judge has told lawyers for victims of a deadly meningitis outbreak tied to a Framingham specialty pharmacy she will likely grant their request for an exhaustive inspection and testing at the facility, reports the Associated Press.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal said Thursday she expects to issue an order allowing lawyers for people suing New England Compounding Center to access the now-closed Waverly Street specialty pharmacy
Judi Abbott Curry, an NECC attorney, said the company agrees that the plaintiffs’ lawyers have the right to inspect the facility, but she argued that the inspection should be conducted after a federal judicial panel rules on whether the lawsuits in Massachusetts and hundreds more around the country should be consolidated before a single court. A judicial panel is scheduled to hold a hearing on that issue in January, reported Boston.com
Curry said conditions at the facility have changed since the steroid injections were made, because numerous government investigators have been in and out over the past few months. She said an expert hired by NECC believes there is no test that will pinpoint the exact age or origin of mold spores, reported Boston.com.
Curry said conditions at the facility also could have been affected by Superstorm Sandy, which devastated parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut but caused relatively minor damage in Massachusetts. Curry said the plaintiffs’ attorneys will not be able to determine whether certain things, such as water infiltration, occurred at the plant before or after the storm.
That argument drew skepticism from attorney Michael Hugo, chair of the Framingham Board of Health.
Just before Thanksgiving, U.S. District Judge Dennis Saylor has ordered an expedited hearing to determine whether to freeze at least $461 million in assets belonging to New England Compounding Center, its owners and two related companies, as more than 40 lawsuits have been filed in numerous states.
New England Compounding Center (NECC) recalled more than 17,000 steroids in September indicating they may contain a fungus. Later, NECC recalled every product made and laid off all employees.
The FDA released a list of customers, who received products from NECC in Framingham on or after May 21.