13 Oct 2012

Probe into deadly meningitis outbreak widens

8:22 pm on 13 October 2012

United States lawmakers have widened their investigation into the cause of a meningitis outbreak that has killed 14 people across six states.

The investigation will include the role state regulators played in monitoring a pharmacy that produced steroid treatments which have been blamed for the deaths.

A House of Representatives' committee wants to know what Massachusetts officials knew about the company involved before the recall of more than 17,000 vials of steroid treatments for back and joint pain from health facilities in 23 states.

The company, New England Compounding, is expected to face a torrent of regulatory action and lawsuits.

The rare fungal form of meningitis has now infected 184 people in 12 states.

The outbreak is a major national health scandal, with multiple investigations underway and a leading Democratic lawmaker, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, calling for a criminal investigation of the company.