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Upton, Committee Schedule Hearing on Deadly Meningitis Outbreak

Michigan leads nation in reported cases

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Washington, DC, November 5, 2012 | comments

Continuing his committee’s investigation of the deadly meningitis outbreak, U.S. Representative Fred Upton (R- St. Joseph), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today joined other committee leaders in announcing the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will convene a hearing on Wednesday, November 14, 2012. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg is scheduled to testify. The subcommittee has also invited James Coffey, Director of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy, and Barry Cadden, Director of Pharmacy and owner of the New England Compounding Center.


Upton, Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman, Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns, and Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette said, “Our committee has a long, bipartisan history of conducting drug safety oversight. Since the meningitis outbreak, we have been in close contact with the involved agencies and parties, but many unanswered questions remain. The NECC has a history of problems, some of which were documented in an FDA warning letter in 2006 – we want to know what went wrong at this facility, the views and actions of its regulators, and what steps can be taken to ensure such an outbreak never happens again.”

The committee launched its bipartisan investigation in October requesting an initial briefing from FDA, CDC and the New England Compounding Center. As part of the investigation, the committee has sought documents from the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy, the FDA and the NECC.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the outbreak has reached 419 cases, including at least 30 deaths. Michigan is among 19 states reporting illness, accounting for 119 cases and seven deaths.

According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, the suspected steroid medication was shipped to four facilities in Michigan: Michigan Neurosurgical Institute in Grand Blanc, Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton, Neuromuscular & Rehabilitation in Traverse City, and Southeast Michigan Surgical Hospital in Warren.

The CDC advises that patients who feel ill or are concerned that they may have been a recipient of the NECC steroid should contact their healthcare provider immediately. The CDC also reports that this form of meningitis is not contagious.

Additional hearing details will be posted online here when available.
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