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Mass. Official: Lots of Blame in Meningitis Crisis

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby says state overseers and the managers of a compounding pharmacy bear responsibility for a fatal, nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis.

Bigby told state lawmakers Wednesday that the Framingham-based New England Compounding Center, which distributed a contaminated steroid that has sickened about 440 people and led to more than 30 deaths, knowingly disregarded sterility tests and prepared medicine in unsanitary conditions.

Bigby also said the state Board of Pharmacy failed to take appropriate action to toughen oversight of the company.

She called “inexplicable” the decision of the board to weaken a proposed reprimand and probation of the center in 2006, allowing the center to continue operating without disciplinary actions.

Bigby said there are up to 26 additional sterile compounding pharmacies in the state.

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