Monday, December 18, 2017

Mass. pharmacy board director fired in connection with meningitis outbreak

BOSTON — The director of the Massachusetts pharmacy board has been fired for ignoring a complaint that a company linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak was violating its license by shipping drugs in bulk.

The Colorado pharmacy board complained about the New England Compounding Center in July, before the third of three batches of tainted steroids tied to the outbreak was shipped in August. A spokesman said state investigators are still looking into any sickness or deaths related to that third batch.

After receiving the report, director James D. Coffey told Colorado officials that the Board of Registration in Pharmacy would "respond as soon as possible following a thorough analysis of (the report)."

Coffey forwarded the complaint to the board's attorney, Susan Manning, who also failed to act, state officials said.

The two didn't notify leadership at the state Department of Public Health about the Colorado complaint, which investigators discovered last weekend while sifting through Coffey's emails, said Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services spokesman Alec Loftus.

Coffey was fired Tuesday; Manning has been placed on administrative leave. Their replacements have not been publicly announced.

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