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Meningitis: The Fruit of Lax Regulation

Salon.com reports how a lack of regulation has led to 25 meningitis deaths linked to New England Compounding Center (NECC), a Massachusetts pharmaceutical company. While governor of that state, Mitt Romney gave the company a pass.

“In all, Massachusetts state records revealed that between 2003 and 2006, there were six complaints regarding NECC and its co-owner, Barry Cadden. At least one of these complaints alleged that NECC’s methylprednisolone acetate failed to comply with pharmaceutical standards. This is the same drug involved in the current epidemic.

In October 2004, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy, a state regulatory agency reporting to Gov. Romney, offered to let NECC enter into a consent agreement that would have acknowledged professional misconduct by NECC warranting disciplinary action, a public reprimand and three years probation.

But in a letter dated Nov. 11, 2004, Paul Cirel, an attorney for NECC, argued that such disciplinary action would be “potentially fatal” to NECC’s business. In a footnote, he asserted, “Once disclosed, the reprimand will surely result in investigations/inquiries/investigations in those other jurisdictions. Regardless of the derivative actions taken, the attendant legal and administrative costs will be devastating.”

So instead, the company was allowed to regulate itself, and now dozens of people are dead. What does NECC have to say about it? “The thoughts and prayers of everyone employed by NECC are with those who have been affected.”

Make you feel kinda sick? No?

How about the fact that the president of the pharmaceutical company is a contributor to the Romney for president campaign?