A nationwide meningitis outbreak linked to a Framingham drug compounding pharmacy is likely to cause a flood of lawsuits that could involve physicians, health clinics, hospitals, and others connected in any way with the contaminated medicines, according to legal specialists.
Attorneys representing clients who say they were injected with tainted steroids from New England Compounding Center already have filed at least a dozen lawsuits across the country, accusing it of pharmacy malpractice, general negligence, breach of warranties, and other wrongdoing.
But perhaps most ominously for health care professionals who injected patients with steroids from New England Compounding, two New Jersey lawsuits also target an orthopaedic and sports medicine clinic, and two physicians — alleging negligence and violation of product liability laws in that state.
While legal specialists say it’s usually difficult to win claims against health care providers for using faulty medical products they didn’t make, the meningitis outbreak is so large — with more than 250 reported cases, 21 deaths, and potentially thousands of people injected with steroids in 16 states — that widespread suits against New England Compounding and others are all but inevitable.
“You’re really talking about a cascading crisis of claims,” said Michael Rustad, a professor at Suffolk University School of Law. “We’re talking of hundreds of millions of dollars in potential claims.”
You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month
Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.
- High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
- Convenient access across all of your devices
- Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
- Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
- Less than 25¢ a week