Bryan Cohen Jan. 17, 2013, 6:43pm

INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed a licensing lawsuit Wednesday against the Massachusetts-based pharmacy that is linked to an outbreak of meningitis that killed 37 people across 19 states.

In November, Indiana's Board of Pharmacy voted to indefinitely suspend the non-resident pharmacy license of the New England Compound Center. The formal licensing complaint will be considered by the board at its February 11 meeting to determine punitive measures.

"This pharmacy failed to ensure its epidural steroid injections were safe for patients which led to devastating harm," Zoeller said. "This formal licensing complaint against the New England Compounding Center will soon be considered by the Indiana Board of Pharmacy which has the authority to determine the appropriate discipline."

There were a total of 568 cases and 37 deaths across 19 states as a result of the fungal meningitis stemming from epidural steroid injections produced by NECC. As of Dec. 12, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had identified six deaths and 63 cases in Indiana alone.

In September, the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration identified NECC as the compounding pharmacy that produced the injections. Subsequently, NECC ceased production of the steroid injections and initiated a recall of the drugs.

As a licensed non-resident pharmacy distributing and selling products in Indiana, NECC is legally responsible for safe and proper storage and distribution of devices and drugs.

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