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$100 Million Fund Agreed Upon For Meningitis Victims

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(CNN) -- A compounding pharmacy at the center of a fungal meningitis outbreak last year has agreed to a preliminary settlement that would create a $100 million fund for victims.


The fund will also be used to pay off creditors of the bankrupt New England Compounding Center, attorneys in the case said. A judge will have to approve the plan before it goes into effect.


The nationwide meningitis outbreak was linked to steroid injections distributed by the Massachusetts-based pharmacy. More than 700 illnesses and 64 deaths in 20 states were blamed on the injections, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. But the CDC noted the deaths are from "all causes among persons who meet the case definition."


The pharmacy's owners said they deny any liability or wrongdoing, but want to play a major role in establishing a fund for those who died or suffered "as a result of this tragic outbreak," according to a statement announcing the settlement.


Paul Moore, a trustee of the bankrupt pharmacy, supported the preliminary settlement agreement.


"We are pleased that a significant amount of funds will become available for distribution to victims and their families as compensation for the deaths, injuries and suffering they endured as a result of this tragic meningitis outbreak," Moore said.


The settlement amount would be funded by cash from the pharmacy's owners as well as other sources, such as insurance, tax refunds and the sale of a related business.
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