First came an outbreak of fungal meningitis, linked to contaminated steroids used to relieve back pain at a Roanoke clinic, among other places.
Now, there’s an outbreak of lawsuits.
The most recent allegations come in a lawsuit filed Thursday against Insight Imaging of Roanoke. Brought by the family of a Salem man who died of meningitis after getting a tainted steroid injection, the lawsuit claims that Insight Imaging passed the high-risk drug off to its patients as a safer brand made by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. Here’s a story that ran in today’s print edition about the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy that produced the steroids actually used by Insight Imaging has filed for bankruptcy. That means lawsuits across the country — including more than 30 in Roanoke — against New England Compounding Center will be placed on hold for a while.
Scott Sexton, a Roanoke attorney who filed the most recent lawsuit against Insight Imaging and has other cases pending against New England Compounding, said the bankruptcy filing was not a surprise.
People with lawsuits already pending against New England Compounding will still have some recourse after the company emerges from bankruptcy. Recovery will likely come from New England’s insurance policies, Sexton said.
Even then, the amount available may not be adequate to compensate everyone, the attorney said.
“I think it will be woefully inadequate,” Sexton said. “I don’t think there’s a possibility of full recovery for an individual, out of the hundreds of people who got exposed to this and then got sick.”