Any regular consumer of news who has seen the latest reports of a meningitis outbreak linked to steroids must be asking themselves – how does a catastrophe of this nature occur in a country as advanced as ours? With the number of deaths linked to this steroid outbreak now at 24 and affected persons at 317 – the question is timely indeed.
The Wall Street Journal ran an expose on just that very question. Here are some of the facts they uncovered.
“The pharmacy linked to this deadly meningitis outbreak had its products tested at an independent lab, who offered that samples from the batch of steroids complicit in this minor epidemic were ultimately labeled “sterile” (elsewise fit for human consumption). Conversely, some experts now believe the sample size that was tested was ultimately too small to be meaningful and didn’t comply with industry guidelines. This comment underscores the challenges of maintaining the quality of such medicines.
What other information is pertinent to this discussion? Well…
“Drug makers and compounding pharmacies routinely have their drugs tested by labs as a quality-control measure. Industry experts say such testing can never completely rule out contamination unless every vial in a batch is tested, which is economically impractical”.
“Pharmacies generally follow testing guidelines established by U.S. Pharmacopeia – a nonprofit group (that bit of information is encouraging) that develops standards on drug quality – adherence to these standards is an industry wide expectation”.
In summary – we are none of us totally guaranteed that our medicine – or any product for that matter – is 100% safe for ingestion or use. In light of this – personal injury lawsuits may be the only response left to trusting Americans who have been harmed by bad drugs.