With less than a week before what experts are expecting to be one of the closest elections in history, the last thing any of the candidates wants is a scandal, but for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney that may not be a reality.
The meningitis outbreak which I wrote about earlier this month has claimed 25 lives and sickened 344 people in 18 states, including two cases in Cincinnati. We are learning that this horrendous event can be traced to the failure of Mitt Romney and his unwillingness to regulate the Massachusetts pharmaceutical company (New England Compounding Company) that is being blamed for this fatal outbreak.
Former secretary of health and human services in Massachusetts, Philip Johnston, told Salon.com “It speaks volumes about the tragic outcome of Romney’s view on regulatory issues. There are two dozen people who died needlessly. It was clearly the responsibility of the company to protect them, but it was also the responsibility of the government at various levels, and, as far as I’m concerned, they failed.”
Records have revealed that a Massachusetts regulatory agency found that the New England Compounding Company had continually failed to meet accepted standards in 2004. Romney failed to act, was it because the New England Compounding Company were contributors to Mr. Romney, and he did not want to bite a feeding hand?
The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy, a state regulatory agency which reported to Gov. Romney, offered an agreement to the New England Compounding Company in October 2004 that would have acknowledged professional misconduct by the company, for which they would have been punished with a public reprimand and three years probation.
But the following month in November, Paul Cirel, an attorney for NECC, argued that such disciplinary action would be “potentially fatal” to their business because the reprimand may beget inquiries and investigations. These may instigate questions by regulators, and the media, which is the last thing a company wants who is skirting responsibility Mr. Cirel felt this would be devastating to their business. The findings were swept under the rug by Romney and his administration. Twenty-five lives could have been saved had Mitt Romney acted responsibly eight years ago.
Regulation is a bad word to Mitt Romney, in any sector. His objections to Dodd-Frank, the legislation signed into office by President Obama which is meant to help keep another financial system breakdown at bay, was met with contempt by Mr. Romney. Mr. Romney says that if he were elected he would repeal the law replacing it with unspecified but “streamlined regulatory framework.” Regulations are what keep industry in check, and make them accountable to a body who has the interest of the general public in mind.
Health professionals are finding that early diagnosis is the key, the sickest patients and those in the most danger are those who waited to be treated. The latest estimate of the incubation period is six weeks.
Victims in the fungal meningitis outbreak had received shots of methylprednisolone acetate, which is used to alleviate back pain. The solution had been exposed to a fungus which has made hundreds sick and have cost dozens their lives.
Some information from this article was gathered from Salon.com