Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and a federal prosecutor are working together to investigate a now-defunct Massachusetts company that distributed a tainted steroid to medical clinics across the country.
Schuette and U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz of the District of Massachusetts are conducting state and federal investigations of New England Compounding Center. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say tainted methylprednisolone acetate injections compounded at the center have harmed 751 people, including 64 deaths, in 20 U.S. states.
In Michigan, NECC distributed the tainted steroid to clinics in Genesee, Livingston, Macomb and Grand Traverse Counties. The CDC and the Michigan Department of Community Health say 264 Michigan residents were diagnosed with a form of fungal meningitis or infection after receiving the injections. That’s more affected residents than any other state. 19 Michigan victims have died, which is also the most from any state.
Schuette asked the Michigan Court of Appeals to empanel a multi-county grand jury to investigate the case. It was the first time in Michigan history that an Attorney General had ever asked for a grand jury comprised of residents of more than one county. The Michigan Court of Appeals granted the request in April.
The grand jury’s six-month term will expire, but Schuette may ask the presiding judge to reconvene it in the future. Evidence already uncovered by the grand jury may be used in ongoing investigations, and the grand jurors will remain sworn to secrecy.