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Schuette Reminds Victims of NECC Meningitis Outbreak of January 15 Deadline to File Claims with $100 Million Victim Compensation Fund

Contact: Joy Yearout 517-373-8060

 January 10, 2014

     LANSING -  Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette today reminded Michiganders affected by tainted steroid injections distributed by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) of an upcoming January 15, 2014 deadline to file claims to secure funds from a $100 Million Victim Compensation Fund created by U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Massachusetts. In 2012, the now-defunct NECC distributed tainted injections of a steroid, known as methylprednisolone acetate, to clinics throughout the country. Hundreds of Michigan families were impacted by the tragedy, and nineteen Michigan citizens lost their lives.

     “Victims and families affected by this fungal meningitis tragedy have already endured significant hardship,” said Schuette. “No amount of money could undo the damage or bring a loved one back, but this fund may be an option to help families rebuild. I encourage victims and families to consult a private attorney to determine whether filing a claim is appropriate for their situation.”

     New England Compounding Center is undergoing bankruptcy in Massachusetts. A court-appointed trustee overseeing victim interests worked with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to approve the creation of a $100 million Victim Compensation Fund to benefit those affected by the meningitis tragedy. Citizens injured by NECC products and their families are eligible to file claims. Claim forms must be received by 4:00PM on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. Only hard-copy submissions sent by USPS or courier services will be accepted. Electronic submissions are not available. The amount of payments will be determined by the number of valid claims filed.

     Additional information and claim forms are available for download online: http://www.drcdrx.com/Cases/ProofOfClaim/necp.  

     The tainted methylprednisolone acetate injections compounded at NECC have caused harm to 751 individuals nationwide, including 64 deaths, in twenty different states according to official tallies recorded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

     In the state of Michigan, NECC distributed tainted methylprednisolone acetate injections to clinics in four Michigan counties: Genesee, Livingston, Macomb, and Grand Traverse. The CDC and the Michigan Department of Community Health have reported that Michigan leads the nation with 264 total cases connected to the methylprednisolone acetate injections compounded at NECC. Of those 264 individuals, the CDC has reported that 19 have died, which is the most from any state.

Parallel State and Federal Investigations Remain Ongoing

     In April 2013, the Michigan Court of Appeals granted Schuette’s historic request to empanel a multi-county grand jury to investigate the fungal meningitis tragedy. This was the first multi-county grand jury request to be made by an Attorney General and granted by the Court in the state’s history.

     In November 2013, Schuette announced a unique investigative partnership with U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and federal investigators. The new coordination of their respective and continuing independent state and federal criminal investigations of New England Compounding Center (NECC) will maximize resources and ensure complete and thorough investigations.

     “The victims and families affected by this fungal meningitis tragedy deserve answers, and this agreement with United States Attorney Ortiz will allow us to coordinate with federal officials and maximize the resources dedicated to this investigation,” said Schuette. “This force-multiplier will boost our parallel and independent investigations, helping both our offices secure justice for victims and their families.”

     Both investigations remain ongoing at this time.

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