That's the title of this story by Craig Unger in Salon.com.
NECC, the company whose compounding has been determined to be the source of the outbreak, successfully lobbied the Romney administration to prevent even probation on previous citations of not properly abiding by safety and professional standards.
If this were less than a week before the election, and were the news not being dominated by Sandy, it is possible this could become a very big story in the campaign - it is illustrative of what happens when regulations are rolled back. And Romney's fingerprints are all over it.
Allow me to quote a few snips:
...state records reveal that a Massachusetts regulatory agency found that the New England Compounding Co., the pharmaceutical company tied to the epidemic, repeatedly failed to meet accepted standards in 2004 — but a reprimand was withdrawn by the Romney administration in apparent deference to the company’s business interests.The story will tell you about an FDA 2002 confidential report which resulted in NECC paying a settlement after a NY patient died. Massachusetts state records reveal 6 complaints against NECC and its co-owner, and
At least one of these complaints alleged that NECC’s methylprednisolone acetate failed to comply with pharmaceutical standards. This is the same drug involved in the current epidemic.. But there's more.
In October 2004, the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy, a state regulatory agency reporting to Gov. Romney, offered to let NECC enter into a consent agreement that would have acknowledged professional misconduct by NECC warranting disciplinary action, a public reprimand and three years probation.The article traces what happened after that, with the firm arguing through an attorney
that such disciplinary action would be “potentially fatal” to NECC’s business.The firm was able to negotiate a situation with a consent decree and only one year of probation
and it was to be a non-disciplinary agreement that would not be reported to the National Association of State Boards of Pharmacy or other outside agencies.The attorney suing on behalf of the meningitis victims has noted that Romney was responsible for the relevant agencies.
She added that under Chapter 13, Section 22 of the General Laws of Massachusetts, members of the Board of Registration in Pharmacy are appointed by the governor.THe co-owner contributed not only to Romney, but also to Scott Brown, who
was one of 10 senators to sign a letter to the Drug Enforcement Agency arguing that regulations on the compounding industry should be loosened.There is a reason that we do not let businesses self-regulate. There is a reason we need to have serious oversight. We should have already learned from the financial disaster that we need to restrict the influence of corporate interests on government and regulatory bodies lest the rest of us be put at risk for the sake of profits.
This SHOULD be a big story in this campaign.
One wonders if it will get any attention at all.