Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) plans to give away $10,000 in campaign funds he received from the owners and executives of a compounding pharmacy linked to the national meningitis outbreak that has sickened 185 people and killed 14.
The Brown campaign will donate the money to the Meningitis Foundation of America, The Boston Globe reported on Thursday.
Brown’s campaign has received $3,500 this cycle from Gregory Conigliaro, the co-owner of the New England Compounding Center (NECC), and another $2,500 from Lisa Conigliaro Cadden, Conigliaro’s sister and the wife of Barry Cadden, NECC’s other co-owner. In September, Gregory Conigliaro and his wife hosted a fundraiser for Brown at their Southborough, Mass., home. Alleigh Marré, press secretary from the Brown campaign, told the Globe that the campaign would not be donating all the money raised at the September event, only that received from NECC officials.
“Senator Brown supports a full and thorough investigation to determine responsibility for this tragedy and to ensure nothing like it ever happens again,” Marré said in a statement.
The deadly meningitis outbreak has been linked to a contaminated injectable steroid medication compounded by the NECC. Multiple investigations have been launched, and federal lawmakers are starting to look into the matter. On Friday, House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders announced that they were expanding their probe. In a letter to the director of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy, the committee leaders said they wanted to know whether any remedial measures were taken after the FDA sent the NECC a warning letter in 2006, detailing violations witnessed by investigators two years prior.
Earlier this week, three Democratic committee members wrote a letter to Republicans, requesting hearings into the outbreak.
“We are writing to request that the Committee begin an investigation and hold hearings on the ongoing meningitis outbreak caused by a contaminated injectable steroid,” Reps. Henry Waxman, Frank Pallone, and Diana DeGette wrote in the letter, sent Tuesday. “The steroid was manufactured by a pharmacy compounding facility, New England Compounding Center (NECC), and provided to patients at pain clinics throughout the country. This incident raises serious concerns about the scope of the practice of pharmacy compounding in the United States and the current patchwork of federal and state laws and systems that oversee this practice.”
Pharmacy compounding has been called an “age-old practice,” where pharmacists combine, mix, or alter ingredients in drugs to meet specific needs of individual patients. Compound drugs are regulated by each state’s pharmacy board, not the FDA. But the agency has said in recent years that the practice was coming under scrutiny.
An email Friday from TPM to Brown’s campaign spokesperson was not immediately returned.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com