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Framingham Pharmacy Settled With Family After 2004 Meningitis Death

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(Image courtesy: CBS News)

(Image courtesy: CBS News)

Karen Twomey Karen Twomey
Karen Twomey is a reporter for WBZ News Radio 1030 and has spent the...
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BOSTON (CBS/AP) –  Long before the current rash of fungal meningitis, the compounding pharmacy in Framingham suspected in the outbreak settled a lawsuit alleging it produced a tainted shot that caused a man’s death in 2004.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports

Officials have identified Framingham based-New England Compounding Center as the source of steroid shots suspected in the outbreak of rare fungal meningitis that has killed at least 12 people and made more than 130 others sick in 11 states.

Allegations of a shot tainted with a different form of meningitis were at the heart of a lawsuit filed against the company over the 2004 death.

An 83-year-old man died about a year and a half after receiving a shot produced by the company.

A 2004 lawsuit filed in upstate New York’s Monroe County claimed New England Compounding Center produced the shot that infected William Koch with bacterial meningitis at Rochester General Hospital on July 17, 2002.

Koch died Feb. 28, 2004, at the age of 83.

The lawsuit said the shot was the source of Koch’s meningitis, but did not explain how that determination was made.

The lawyer for Koch’s widow told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 that cultures were taken from the lot of medicine Koch was injected with after he was diagnosed with meningitis.

Bacterial meningitis is contagious and much more common than the fungal meningitis involved in the current outbreak. Fungal meningitis is more difficult to catch, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The compounding pharmacy reached a settlement with Koch’s widow in 2007 before the case went to trial, according to her lawyer Mark Nunn.

He declined to elaborate because the terms were confidential.

“Really all I can say is that the case settled prior to trial,” Nunn said.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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