January 4, 2013

Mass. pharmacy blames cleaning company for meningitis outbreak

The Associated Press

BOSTON — The Massachusetts compounding pharmacy linked to a nationwide meningitis outbreak that has been blamed for 39 deaths and hundreds of illnesses is blaming its cleaning contractor.

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FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2012 file photo, a Food and Drug Administration Agent stands at the doorway of New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012, as investigators work inside. The company's steroid medication was been linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak in one of Massachusetts's top stories in 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes, File)

AP

The Boston Globe reports that attorneys for New England Compounding Center sent a letter to UniFirst Corp. demanding that it take legal responsibility for claims against the pharmacy.

UniFirst acknowledged that a subsidiary helped clean portions of the pharmacy's cleanroom facility in Framingham, but maintained its cleaning services were limited and it was not responsible for the contaminated drugs. A spokesman called the claims "unfounded and without merit."

Federal investigators found widespread evidence of mold and other contamination when they visited the pharmacy in October.

UniFirst received the letter last week and disclosed it in a filing Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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