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Thursday, June 27, 2013
Important!! Breaking News: Papers sought from pain clinics Subpoenas tied to meningitis outbreak Jun. 26, 2013
MARION — Two pain management clinics in Marion have received subpoenas seeking documents that could provide information on allegations their patients received injections of tainted medication that led to serious illness, an attorney with a steering committee appointed by a U.S. district court judge said.
The subpoena originated in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, which is overseeing the consolidation of most cases in federal and state court alleging personal injury or wrongful death as a result of the contaminated injections.
In October, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began coordinating a multistate investigation of fungal meningitis among patients who had received epidural injections from three lots of steroids manufactured by New England Compounding Pharmacy Inc. in Framingham, Mass.; fungal meningitis is not contagious.
Methylprednisolone acetate provided by the Massachusetts facility may be contaminated with a fungus that led some patients to develop a rare form of fungal meningitis (brain infection) and paraspinal and spinal infections. The CDC reports 745 cases (20 in Ohio) of the infection have occurred in 20 states, and 58 people (one in Ohio) have died. The steroid is injected to treat back pain.
The purpose of the subpoena is to investigate facts material to ongoing proceedings in the consolidated cases in Massachusetts, and does not necessarily indicate wrongdoing on the part of the clinics, states a news release announcing the subpoenas, which were served Friday. The issuing of the subpoenas should not be interpreted as an allegation of wrongdoing on the part of the clinic. The subpoenas were issued by attorneys working in conjunction with a seven-member Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee appointed by the district court to initiate, coordinate and conduct all pretrial discovery of plaintiffs in all actions pending in that court.
BKC Pain Specialists LLC and Marion Pain Clinic are two of many clinics nationwide identified by the CDC as having purchased and administered vials of contaminated methylprednisolone acetate produced by New England Compounding Pharmacy.
An employee at Marion Pain Clinic said Meena Chadha, the clinic’s chief executive officer, declined comment on the subpoena. An employee at BKC Pain Specialists said owner Dr. Adil Katabay was out of the country and could not be reached for comment.
Marion County had five cases of fungal meningitis, the last one arising in October, said Tessie Pollock, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Health.
Attorney Kimberly Dougherty said the subpoenas signal the next step of an ongoing investigation of the role clinics including BKC Pain Specialists, LLC and Marion Pain Clinic played in the distribution of contaminated medication.
“We believe the information we receive from BKC Pain Specialists LLC will help us understand how the outbreak of fungal meningitis infections occurred,” Dougherty states.
As a result of the large number of civil lawsuits and anticipated civil lawsuits arising from the outbreak, New England Compounding Pharmacy filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S.Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Massachusetts, on Dec. 21. On Feb. 12, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation ordered the consolidation of all federal cases in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts.
On April 9, Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV, presiding U.S. District Court judge, appointed the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, of which Thomas M. Sobol, an attorney with the firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, is lead counsel. Dougherty is another attorney on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, which is working to organize the litigation in the State of Ohio.