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Mass. Meningitis Pharmacy Blames Cleaning Company

Fri, 01/04/2013 - 8:04am

BOSTON (AP) -- The Massachusetts compounding pharmacy linked to a nationwide meningitis outbreak that has been blamed for 39 deaths and hundreds of illnesses is blaming its cleaning contractor.

The Boston Globe (http://b.globe.com/XqlSG2) reports that attorneys for New England Compounding Center sent a letter to UniFirst Corp. demanding that it take legal responsibility for claims against the pharmacy.

UniFirst acknowledged that a subsidiary helped clean portions of the pharmacy's cleanroom facility in Framingham, but maintained its cleaning services were limited and it was not responsible for the contaminated drugs. A spokesman called the claims "unfounded and without merit."

Federal investigators found widespread evidence of mold and other contamination when they visited the pharmacy in October.

UniFirst received the letter last week and disclosed it in a filing Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Mass. Gov. proposes new compounding pharmacy rules 

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick is proposing tighter regulations on compounding pharmacies following last year's deadly meningitis outbreak linked to a Massachusetts company.

Patrick said Friday he's filing a bill that would require compounding pharmacies obtain a special state license, create whistleblower protections for pharmacy workers, hire more inspectors and enforce new fines and penalties for compounding pharmacies that break the rules.

Patrick's bill would also mandate licenses for out-of-state pharmacies that do business in Massachusetts and require compounding pharmacies report to an overhauled 11-member oversight board whenever they come under investigation by other states or the federal government.

The outbreak linked to the New England Compounding Center has been blamed for 39 deaths and hundreds of illnesses nationwide.

The pharmacy is demanding its cleaning contractor take legal responsibility for the outbreak.

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