The owners and insurers of the bankrupt Framingham pharmacy blamed for an outbreak of fungal meningitis that killed dozens of people last year have tentatively agreed to contribute more than $100 million to compensate victims and creditors of the firm.
The proposed settlement, which needs to be finalized and approved by the US Bankruptcy Court, provides hope that people across the country who received tainted steroid injections made by New England Compounding Center could begin receiving initial payments for their pain and medical expenses as early as next year.
“We are working very hard to expedite this process and get money to victims as quickly as possible,” said Paul D. Moore, the bankruptcy trustee who took the lead in negotiating the deal. “This is a first step, although a significant one.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that at least 751 people contracted meningitis or other infections from the pain shots, including 64 who died in 20 states, making it one of the largest cases of tainted drugs in US history. Overall, as many as 14,000 patients received the tainted injections, and, beyond those diagnosed with meningitis, some reported suffering fatigue or other symptoms.
It is still not clear how much victims and their families would each receive from the deal, since people have until Jan. 15 to file claims with the US Bankruptcy Court. But it will probably amount to at least tens of thousands of dollars, or more, on average.
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