Massachusetts Pharmacy Director Subpoenaed in Meningitis Outbreak Investigation
Outbreak involving at least two Woonsocket-linked infections also led to Massachusetts regulator being fired, talk of more FDA oversight.
The director of a Framingham pharmacy connected to the deaths of up to 30 people has been subpoenaed to appear at Massachusetts House and Senate hearings next week on how his company's tainted steroids could have caused hundreds of people to contract meningitis including at least two treated at Ocean State Pain Management of Woonsocket.
A third Rhode Island case of Meningitis has been linked to the company, but officials have not stated if that person was treated in Woonsocket or at the company's East Greenwich office.
Barry Cadden, the director and co-founder of New England Compounding Center, which produced the drugs, has indicated that he will not appear voluntarily at the hearings, according to the Associated Press.
Food and Drug Administration officials and experts at the Centers for Disease Control are also expected to testify.
The scandal also took down Massachusetts' pharmacy board director, James Coffey, after it came to light this week that he failed to investigate a compliant against NECC by Colorado pharmacy regulators in July, two months before the deadly outbreak. Coffey was fired Tuesday and will be replaced by Department of Public Health Interim Commissioner Dr. Lauren Smith.
The developments come on the heels of an announcement by Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Markey last week that he intends to introduce legislation to increase federal oversight of pharmacies in Massachusetts, according to Fox News reports. Compounding pharmacies like the Framingham company are not currently regulated by the FDA.