Judge Approves $200M Settlement Over Meningitis Outbreak
BOSTON, May 20 (UPI) — A federal judge has given preliminary approval to a reported $200 million settlement between a New England pharmaceutical company and victims of a meningitis outbreak in 2012.
The suit, against New England Compounding Center, was filed following the deaths of 64 people and the harming of 751 others. Investigators said a steroid batch tainted with meningitis was injected into the victims.
The deal was expected to be signed before the weekend and victims could begin receiving the funds this fall, CBS Boston reported. Officials have said those who were injured the most will receive the most money.
About $50 million of the settlement will come directly from NECC and the remaining $150 million from the company’s insurance policies and other involved parties.
“I am especially pleased that those who suffered so greatly will soon receive compensation without further delay,” Paul Moore, the trustee responsible for collecting money on behalf of victims, said in a statement.
“This is a tremendous achievement to deliver a plan that would provide relief to victims and a modicum of justice for the injuries they sustained,” attorney David Moulton said.
Another plaintiff attorney said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped counting at 64 dead, but there are additional victims who have died from the meningitis outbreak.
The agreement is about $100 million greater than the originally proposed settlement, CBS Boston’s report said.
The outbreak led NECC to file for bankruptcy, which means a judge needed to sign off on the amount of any settlement. The judge in this case verbally agreed to the amount but still needs to sign off on it to take effect.
Authorities have seized $18 million from bank accounts related to executives of NECC, and 14 people connected to the pharmacy have been arrested in connection to the outbreak. Pharmacy co-owner Barry Cadden and supervising pharmacist Glenn Chin are facing second-degree murder charges, the Wall Street Journal reported. The two have pleaded not guilty.