Today, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, joined with Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), Ranking Member Mike Enzi (R-WY) and fellow members of the committee in demanding documents to aid in the committee's investigation into the recent fungal meningitis outbreak, which has sickened more than 300 Americans.
"The meningitis outbreak has a lot of Americans worried, and rightfully so. That's why we're trying to get to the bottom of this issue and understand how this happened so we can prevent another similar situation in the future," Hatch said. "By joining together and requesting detailed information, we are making clear that we're not going to rest until we get the answers concerned Americans deserve to know."
The Committee sent letters to the New England Compounding Center, the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking records that will help the Committee better understand how the outbreak occurred and what warning signs may have existed. As the Committee assesses why federal and state regulatory agencies failed to detect and prevent the outbreak, the documents will inform the HELP Committee's bipartisan oversight of this situation, and efforts to determine if further federal authorities are needed.
In addition to Hatch, Chairman Harkin, and Ranking Member Enzi, signers of the letters included Democrats Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Kay R. Hagan (D-NC), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Al Franken (D-MN), Michael F. Bennet (CO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), as well as Republicans Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Richard Burr (R-NC), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), John McCain (R-AZ), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Mark Kirk (R-IL).