House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today requested bipartisan briefings from the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the recent fungal meningitis outbreak linked to contaminated spinal steroid injections. According to the CDC, eight people have died and over 100 people have been sickened across nine states, and it is expected that the number expected may rise in the coming weeks.
The members wrote, "The committee has a long bipartisan history of conducting drug safety oversight and is very concerned about these recent developments. We intend to learn more from the FDA, CDC, and others who may provide insight into the details surrounding this outbreak and the prevention of future outbreaks."
Joining Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) in signing the letters were Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA), Health Subcommittee Vice Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ).
Committee staff first contacted the FDA on Friday, October 5, 2012, to request a briefing on the outbreak; the CDC publicly released additional information about the outbreak on October 8. The members today requested the FDA and CDC briefings occur prior to October 12, 2012.