Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has announced a grand jury will investigate the pharmaceutical company and clinics that supplied contaminated steroid injections that have been linked to 259 cases of meningitis and 14 deaths in the state. Schuette calls it "an awful human tragedy that is killing our neighbors, our citizens." He’s calling for a grand jury from Grand Traverse County and the three other counties in Michigan where the tainted medicine was distributed. Steroid contamination has been linked to 259 illnesses, including fungal meningitis, and 14 deaths in Michigan.
What’s next in the investigation:
Probable cause: Attorney General Bill Schuette filed a petition today with the Michigan Court of Appeals to empanel a four-county grand jury to investigate how patients of four clinics were treated with contaminated steroids. The petition says there is probable cause to believe crimes were committed. The crimes potentially include adulteration of drugs that caused death, adulteration of drugs that caused injury, and conspiring to commit a crime. These are 15-year and five-year felonies.
Grand jury: A three-judge panel will consider the petition. If it approves the request, a circuit judge from either Macomb, Genesee, Livingston, or Grand Traverse will be named to lead the grand jury. Those counties are where the clinics are located. The grand jury will be made up of 13 to 17 people chosen from those counties.
Investigation: The grand jury investigation would include the Michigan clinics that administered the steroid injections, including one in Grand Traverse County, as well as the Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center that made the steroid. Grand jury proceedings are secret. It would have six months to conclude its investigation, but can ask for an extension. The grand jury has the authority to compel people to appear and testify and it can ask a Massachusetts court to order officials from the New England Compounding Center to appear.