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Could a Cleaning Company Share Blame in Meningitis Outbreak?

Posted on Jan 20, 2013

The New England Compounding Center (NECC), the pharmacy that made the fungus-tainted injections and has been at the center of the nationwide meningitis outbreak, has announced that a cleaning company it hired should share the blame for the 39 deaths and over 600 illnesses that took place across 19 states.

The NECC recalled 17,000 tainted injections on September 26, 2012, and it then recalled all its drugs and shut down on October 6, 2012.  

The pharmacy hired UniFirst Corp. for a once-a-month cleaning of their Framingham, Massachusetts lab. Because of this, NECC has sent UniFirst a letter demanding that it indemnify NECC for the meningitis outbreak. However, UniFirst has stated that NECC’s claims are without merit.

UniFirst’s UniClean business did clean portions of NECC cleanrooms; however, the company is stating that it cleaned to NECC’s specifications using NECC’s cleansing solutions. According to a statement by UniFirst spokesman Adam Soreoff, two technicians cleaned once a month for about an hour and a half.

The Food and Drug Administration did find “greenish-black foreign matter” in one steroid injection bin upon its investigation. The FDA also found that several cleanrooms at NECC had mold overgrowths or bacterial overgrowths.

Soreoff stated, “UniClean was not in any way responsible for NECC’s day-to-day operations, its overall facility cleanliness, or the integrity of the products they produced. Therefore, based on what we know, we believe any NECC claims against UniFirst or UniClean are unfounded and without merit.”

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