MINNEAPOLIS--(Elliot Olsen and Fred Pritzker filed a lawsuit today against Medical Advanced Pain Specialists (MAPS) on behalf of Traci M. Maccoux, a 23 year old Minnesota woman. She was one of the Minnesota patients that contracted fungal meningitis after epidural spinal steroid injections in the summer of 2012. The steroids were manufactured by New England Compounding Center (NECC). On September 26, 2012, NECC voluntarily recalled three lots of these steroids due to fungal contamination.)--Attorneys
“I'm angry at the companies involved – MAPS, and the company that made the drug. I know people make mistakes, but this is a huge mistake that caused a lot of deaths. I'm angry about it, and I'm sad.”
“At the time my client was diagnosed with fungal meningitis linked to the MAPS epidural steroid injection, she suffered from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), a chronic pain condition,” said Olsen. “Because of the fungal meningitis, an effective treatment for CRPS is now unavailable to my client, and she will have few options to use against the debilitating pain.”
On May 14, 2012, Ms. Maccoux went to MAPS Clinic in Maple Grove for leg pain treatment. MAPS physicians recommended epidural steroid injections (lumbar injections) in her spine. Thus, on July 31, 2012, MAPS doctors administered an injection of methylprednisolone acetate 80 mg/mL manufactured by NECC. Ms. Maccoux had a second injection of NECC methylprednisolone acetate at MAPS on August 10, 2012.
By September 2012, Ms. Maccoux had contracted spinal fungal meningitis. She was hospitalized for more than a week. Since that time, Ms. Maccoux has been on continual anti-fungal medication and has had a surgery to remove hardware associated with a pain modulation device. The antifungal therapy has numerous side effects for Ms. Maccoux including visual disturbances and nausea. It also carries a risk of liver damage and squamous cell carcinoma.
On September 26, 2012, NECC voluntarily recalled three lots of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate due to possible contamination with fungus. On October 6, 2012, NECC expanded the recall to include all products in circulation that were distributed from its facility in Framingham, Massachusetts. On or about October 11, 2012, Ms. Maccoux received notice from MAPS that she was injected with a recalled product that was potentially contaminated by NECC, according to the lawsuit.
At this same time, the CDC reported that other patients who had received NECC methylprednisolone had developed fungal meningitis. Although the investigation is ongoing, to date there are 377 CDC-confirmed cases of fungal meningitis in 20 states. In its most recent counts, the CDC has confirmed 722 total cases of NECC drug related illness. Of those, 50 people have died, including one in Minnesota.
NECC was licensed as a compounding pharmacy in Minnesota. As such, it was required under Minnesota statutes to sell individually compounded pharmaceuticals for specific patients, by prescription. The license did not allow the company to sell pharmaceuticals in bulk. In December 2012, NECC filed for federal bankruptcy protection in Massachusetts.
The Maccoux meningitis lawsuit alleges that, in violation of state law, MAPS received methylprednisolone acetate in bulk from NECC. The lawsuit also alleges that the NECC methylprednisolone administered to Ms. Maccoux on July 31 and/or August 10, 2012, was contaminated with the fungus Exserohilum rostratum or Aspergillus fumigatus, potentially deadly pathogens that can cause illness and death if they are able to enter into the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord known as the cerebral spinal fluid (“CSF”).
“The lawsuit filed today seeks fair compensation for Ms. Maccoux from MAPS,” said Olsen, lead attorney for this case. “We allege that these businesses should be held accountable for purchasing drugs illegally. MAPS cannot turn a blind eye to Minnesota law which mandates that it purchase in bulk only from a licensed supplier. Had MAPS abided by this law, many Minnesotans would not have been sickened.”
Ms. Maccoux is a CDC-confirmed case patient in the fungal meningitis outbreak linked to NECC methylprednisolone. The lawsuit filed on her behalf alleges that she contracted fungal meningitis as a direct result of receiving contaminated steroid injections from MAPS.
Ms. Maccoux told The Guardian in an interview* in October 2012: "I'm angry at the companies involved – MAPS, and the company that made the drug. I know people make mistakes, but this is a huge mistake that caused a lot of deaths. I'm angry about it, and I'm sad." The lawsuit alleges that as a direct and proximate cause of the fungal infection, certain treatments for her CRPS may no longer be available to Ms. Maccoux.
Elliot Olsen and Fred Pritzker are lawyers with PritzkerOlsen, P.A. a Minnesota law firm with a national practice representing victims of pathogenic adulteration of both food and drug products. The firm has obtained some of the country’s largest verdicts and settlements in product liability cases. Attorneys Elliot Olsen and Fred Pritzker can be reached at 1-888-377-8900 (toll free). More information can be found on the firm’s website www.pritzkerlaw.com. The firm has offices in Minneapolis, MN.
Maccoux v. Medical Advanced Pain Specialists, P.A., Minnesota District Court, Hennepin County, 27-CV-13-4786