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Compounding pharmacy settles a lawsuit from 2004 for contaminated product that killed a man


Posted on Oct 10, 2012

In 2002, William Koch went to a local hospital for treatment. He experienced back pain, so he went to a local hospital to be treated for the pain. There, Koch received a steroid injection into his spine, which then reduced his back pain. Shortly after Koch received an injection, however, Koch developed bacterial meningitis. He subsequently died on February 28, 2004.

Koch’s wife filed a lawsuit on behalf of her husband in New York in 2004. Recently, several Americans have experienced a similar meningitis outbreak from the same procedure, spinal steroid injections for back pain. Koch’s wife is suing the same compounding pharmacy for the contaminated steroid injection that caused the death of her husband.

The lawsuit alleges that the compounding pharmacy in Framingham, Massachusetts distributed steroid injections that were contaminated with bacteria. Due to the contamination, the pharmacy has been named as the cause of nine deaths and the infection of 105 individuals. These individuals contracted, as a result of the injection, “a rare fungal form of meningitis.” 

Several states sought to revoke the pharmacy’s license, but nothing has materialized, indicated by Tennessee officials last Monday, October 8, 2012. In fact, the license is active and considered valid until next year. The compounding pharmacy, however, voluntarily surrendered their license in Massachusetts.

In 2006, the pharmacy agreed to allow federal officials to fully inspect their procedures for drug compounding. Director of the Health Care Safety Bureau for Massachusetts, Ms. Madeleine Biondolillo, expressed that the compounding pharmacy “may have been operating in violation of a state law by issuing medications without ‘a prescription from a registered practitioner for an individual patient. If a compounding pharmacy manufactures without a patient-specific prescription, it would be a violation.’”

Koch’s wife sued the pharmacy for the wrongful death of her husband and for malpractice. More specifically, she complained that the pharmacy failed to comply with the industry standards. Koch’s wife and the pharmacy recently settled the lawsuit, but the terms of the settlement are confidential and therefore, were not discussed in the article. 

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Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer