Bryan Cohen Oct. 16, 2012, 6:02pm

LANSING, Mich. (Legal Newsline) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Gov. Rick Snyder announced the filing of an administrative complaint on Friday requesting a suspension of the pharmacy license of a company linked to a recent meningitis outbreak.

Schuette's office filed a complaint and an order of summary suspension with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs alleging that New England Compound Center acted as a drug manufacturer despite only being licensed to fill individual prescriptions in Michigan. NECC allegedly acted as a manufacturer when it distributed large amounts of medication to various clinics and hospitals in the state.

Schuette's office will also collaborate with the state Department of Community Health and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to determine if further legal action is justified.

"Michigan citizens demand that drug manufacturers follow the laws designed to keep consumers safe," Schuette said. "In this case, mistakes resulted in tragedy for Michigan families. We will take every step necessary to restore public safety and welfare, and we have launched an official investigation to determine whether additional civil or criminal action is warranted."

The DCH reports that 41 Michigan citizens are connected with the rare fungal meningitis outbreak linked to NECC epidural steroidal injections and that three people have died as a result. As of Friday, 184 people were reported to be infected and 14 deaths were reported, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

NECC issued a voluntary recall on October 6 of all of its products currently in circulation that were distributed from or produced at its Framingham, Massachusetts-based facility.

After the outbreak was declared, the DCH worked with four facilities in Michigan that received the product to contact 1,900 individuals who were injected with the product while it was available. Only individuals who received an epidural injection are at risk for contracting fungal meningitis.

If the director of the Bureau of Health Professions signs the order of summary suspension, NECC's license will be immediately suspended, forcing the company to cease operations in Michigan. A formal hearing would be required to dissolve the suspension prior to full adjudication.

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