AC Alert for October 18, 2012 When The Cure Is Worse Than The Ailment AC Alert for October 18, 2012 When The Cure Is Worse Than The Ailment

AC Alert for October 18, 2012 When The Cure Is Worse Than The Ailment
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 9:30am

CONTENT: Newsletter

When issue management can get very personal.  You've heard the headline expression before.  The cure/ailment equation can get very personal in our lives.  When our friend Ted began experiencing that nagging pain in his leg again -- especially when standing for a while -- he figured it was probably his sciatica nerve acting up again. After all, he’s 61, and not growing any younger! Moreover, he’s had the pain on and off for several years.

Usually a few days on some over-the-counter medications, along with the exercises his doctor taught him a few years back, did the trick. However, this time the pain didn’t go away after two weeks on the meds; in fact it got much worse.

So Ted went to see his doctor. After a quick trip down the hall to the physical therapist his doctor had consulted, they both decided it might be wise to get an MRI just to see what was happening. Good thing -- because the MRI clearly showed that the pain was being caused by a condition called Spinal Stenosis. That's a narrowing of the nerve channel running down the back. The classic symptoms are pain in the back or legs, and it is especially severe when the patient is standing or walking.

Ted's doc said there are three ways to deal with this condition, none pleasant:

  1. Just learn to live with the pain taking medications when needed.
  2. Receive periodic epidural injections.
  3. Have back surgery done to open up the narrowed nerve channel.

Ted wasn’t particularly enthralled with the idea of taking pain meds the rest of his life, and he wanted to avoid surgery, so he opted to try a series of the steroid injections, known as "epidural shots."  Sometimes they work, sometimes not -- but that seemed better than surgery.

Today's Medical Crisis:  So we can only imagine several weeks later, after minimal relief from the first two injections, what was going through his mind when Ted found out what was happening with one of the major suppliers of the epidural shot medication.

From the headlines: “The New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass. has been linked to a meningitis outbreak that has killed 15 patients and infected 214 in 15 states. The drug implicated in that outbreak is methylprednisolone acetate, a steroid used in spinal injections for back and neck pain. The drug is believed to have been contaminated with a fungus.” (Source: Tampa Bay Times).

Fortunately for Ted, his doctor did not obtain the steroid medicine used for his injections from that supplier. Imagine how he would have felt if it was!

However, from the moment this major story broke and our friend Ted called to tell us of his experience, AC editors have been providing continuing coverage of the issue in several of our key sections, including Corporate Social Responsibility and the Hot Topic, Healthcare Dialogue.

In some critical issue or crisis situations, there is a potential impact on millions of people, and events in a healthcare crisis like this one can be fast-changing.  We work to make AC your best source for the very latest information on societal issues and when things spin out of control, the ensuing crisis events.

Issues involving corporate responsibility touch every part of our lives, and AC editors are constantly seeking relevant news, commentary and research to keep you informed. Here are some recent examples of our in depth coverage for this and other related topics:

Feds Raid Massachusetts Lab Tied To Meningitis Outbreak
(Source: Reuters) Federal agents on Tuesday raided the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts which has been linked to a widespread meningitis outbreak that has killed 16 people and sickened more than 200 others.
Meningitis Outbreak: 2 More Drugs Probed
(Source: ABC News) Two other drugs made by the New England Compounding Center appear to be involved in the fatal meningitis outbreak that has now claimed the lives of 15 people in as many states according to the FDA.

Congress Widens Scrutiny Of Meningitis Outbreak To Regulator
(Source: Reuters) The US House of Representatives has widened its investigation into the deadly meningitis outbreak to include the role health regulators played in monitoring the pharmacy that produced steroid treatments suspected of causing the crisis.

How Risky Are Compounding Pharmacies?
(Source: Boston Globe) A national meningitis outbreak that’s caused 12 deaths so far and sickened more than 100 patients -- who were treated for back pain with a possibly-contaminated steroid drug made in a Framingham compounding pharmacy -- has raised concerns about the safety of any drug mixed by individual pharmacists rather than produced in a giant manufacturing facility.

Foxconn Used 14-Year-Old Interns At Its Factory In China
(Source: Taiwan's Foxconn, the world's largest contract electronics maker, has admitted using student interns as young as 14 in a Chinese factory. The case is a breach of national law and raises further questions about its intern program.

Twitter Blocks Neo-Nazi Account To Users In Germany
(Source: BBC) Twitter has blocked access to a neo-Nazi account at the request of the German government. The tweets will no longer be visible to users in Germany although the rest of the world will be able to view them.
The actions of large or mega-sized corporations can dominate our personal and business lives -- throughout the world. Many of us work for large companies. Most of us depend on firms doing business in the USA for healthcare. Large industrial corporations have long financed our retirement. We also enjoy the many fruits of corporate-sponsored research and innovation.

Issues matter.  Societal issues shape corporations, and vice versa.  We all want large corporations to behave better, to act in the societal interest.
We work to present views and perspectives on all sides of the issue -- and we also invite your news and views! Send news, reports, editorial contributions and personal opinion items for consideration to Accountability Central by email to:

This is just a sampling of the information in our Alert. Go here for the full text of this alert, and more information on Sustainability, and other Accountability related topics.