Healthcare Business News

Regional News/Northeast: Deal creates fund for victims of meningitis outbreak, and other news

Posted: January 4, 2014 - 12:01 am ET

Owners of the former New England pharmacy that produced tainted steroids blamed for a fungal meningitis outbreak in 2012 agreed to pay $100 million to victims and creditors.

Under the agreement, the owners of the New England Compounding Pharmacy will contribute $100 million to a compensation fund. The proceeds will be shared among the company's creditors, as well as the more than 700 reported victims of the tainted epidural steroid injections shipped out of NECC's facility in Framingham, Mass.

In December 2012, the owners of NECC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention traced fungal contamination of medication that the company shipped to 75 medical facilities across 23 states. They were administered to about 14,000 patients.

A total of 64 people died and more than 750 people suffered infections after they were injected.

Under the terms of the agreement, the company's owners are required to fund the compensation with cash proceeds, insurance, tax refunds and the sale of a business. Agreement terms must be approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

The outbreak triggered new scrutiny on the regulation of compounding pharmacies that mix large quantities of drugs, which the Food and Drug Administration claimed was largely under the jurisdiction of state authorities. Under a law enacted in November, large compounders are invited to register with the FDA and subject themselves to inspections.

Follow Steven Ross Johnson on Twitter: @MHsjohnson

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Real estate firm acquires 2 Boston-area rehab hospitals

The Sanders Trust, an Alabama-based healthcare real estate development company, has bought two Boston-area hospitals, the New England and Braintree Rehabilitation hospitals, for $90 million. The deal closed Dec. 31.

Braintree has 187 beds and New England has 210 beds. The hospitals average more than 5,000 discharges annually and are affiliated with several other inpatient and outpatient facilities in eastern Massachusetts.

“The New England and Braintree Rehabilitation Hospitals are nationally recognized facilities delivering quality-care programs and represent nearly two-thirds market share for rehabilitation services in the Boston metro area. It is a rare opportunity to acquire assets with such strong programs in place,” said Rance Sanders, CEO of the Sanders Trust.

Sanders made the purchase in a joint venture with capital partner Harrison Street Real Estate Capital of Chicago. It also includes a 15-year lease agreement with Reliant Hospital Partners of Richardson, Texas. The hospitals were formerly leased by Five Star Quality Care of Newton, Mass.

John N. Frank

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