Criminal investigators search pharmacy tied to meningitis outbreak
Oct. 16, 2012 at 6:02 PM ET
BOSTON -- Criminal investigators from the Food and Drug Administration were reportedly at the offices of the Massachusetts compounding pharmacy at the center of a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak Tuesday, even as U.S. legislators demanded that the Department of Justice investigate whether the New England Compounding Center violated federal laws or regulations.
FDA agents were seen going in and out of the brick office building on Waverly Road in Framingham, Mass., according to reports from the Boston Globe newspaper. They were wearing jackets bearing the initials "FDA OCI," which stand for the FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations.
Meanwhile, Rep. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, told the department in a letter that New England Compounding Center may have tried to skirt federal policy on the sale and distribution of controlled substances.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, also has asked the Justice Department to launch a criminal probe into the outbreak, which is linked to steroid shots distributed by NECC.
A spokesman for NECC had no comment on Markey's letter but says the company is cooperating in ongoing probes by other agencies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 233 illnesses, including 15 deaths, in 15 states are linked to the outbreak.