Wrongful Death: The Meningitis Outbreak and Justice in Michigan
Because Michigan is the one state in the country that the pharmacy companies have immunity, victims of the recent meningitis outbreak as a result of fungus-tainted steroid injections, may be concerned that they cannot make a claim in Michigan.
However, the citizen and patient may get a break in this instance. Although, generally the pharmaceutical industry in MIchigan is off the hook for the harm they may cause, the immunity law only relates to pharmaceuticals that require approval the the U.S. Food and Drug administration.
A compounding pharmacy and provider, is treated differently than your typical pharmaceutical drug company. It is the preparation containing several ingredients combined in the compounding pharmacy or business. It is not required to get approval from the F.D.A.
Every day brings us news of more outbreaks in Michigan. A woman in Howell, Michigan has died, and her unfortunate husband had an injection of the steroid as well. A clinic in Brighton, Michigan administered the shots. Tennessee and Michigan have the most reported incidence to date.
The steroids causing the outbreak, come from a compounding center in Framington, Massachusetts. Assuming the pharmaceutical immunity law in Michigan applied to the compounding labs, the victim may seek recovery in a Massachusetts court. Unfortunately, that would probably result in the case being returned to Michigan, the site of the plaintiff, and the injection. Most likely the Court would find that the law of Michigan, immunity for the drug manufacturer would apply. Therefore, it is important to determine if the law even has applicability to compounding centers.
At the time of this writing, October 15, 2012, whether or not the law applies has yet to be tested in Michigan. It is noteworthy, that the results of the elections in a couple weeks, may have more bearing on whether the law would be found to apply than the facts of the case. Most likely, if the Republican Justices win, the ruling would ultimately come down in favor of the compounding company. Should the voters turn out and elect the Democrat Justices, Kelley, McCormack, and Sheila Johnson, the families of the victims might have a chance.
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