Nadrich & Cohen Investigating Claims in UCLA Bacterial Outbreak
The maker of the medical endoscopes involved in the deadly bacterial outbreak at UCLA Medical Center is being investigated for possible violations of laws that ban improper payments to doctors and other customers. The Los Angeles Times reports that seven patients have reportedly been infected so far by the drug-resistant bacteria at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center, and two of those patients have died. Nadrich & Cohen is currently investigating claims, and encourages anyone affected by this outbreak to contact our firm at (310) 826-8082.
The Origins of the Outbreak
According to reports, the Justice Department has been investigating Olympus Corp. of Americas, the U.S. subsidiary of the controversial scope maker, since 2011. Medical officials believe that the deadly outbreak is linked to the scopes, and the FDA has warned hospitals and physicians that these scopes may have fueled the superbug outbreak. The scope is inserted down patients’ throats for the treatment of a wide variety of ailments, ranging from cancers to gallstones, and Olympus is the leading provider of scopes used for these procedures.
The drug-resistant bacteria at the center of the outbreak is called CRE, or carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. The germ is highly resistant to most antibiotics, and can be fatal to as many as 50 percent of the people infected. At least five patients continue to receive treatment after the recent outbreak, and Ronald Reagan Medical Center has notified an additional 179 patients who may have been exposed to the bug between October 2014 and January 2015.
Why is Olympus Under Investigation?
A spokesperson for Olympus has said that the company is closely monitoring the situation, and that medical professionals are provided with instructions on how to properly reprocess and clean the scopes after each use. The company has not detailed the reasons for the federal investigation, but has confirmed that the DOJ is looking into possible violations of federal anti-kickback laws. These investigations often focus on the possibility of a drug or device maker unlawfully paying off physicians while promoting its products.
Have You Been Affected by the Recent Outbreak?
If you received an ERCP procedure at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center between October 2014 and January 2015, you may have been exposed to the bacteria. Seek medical attention right away, and contact the legal experts at Nadrich & Cohen for a free consultation to discuss your options. You may be entitled to compensation.