Less than a week before Election Day, a potential hit to Mitt Romney’s campaign: Salon reports that the recent meningitis outbreak in the US can be linked to Romney’s failure to regulate when he served as governor of Massachusetts. Numerous problems had been reported at the New England Compounding Co., the pharmacy linked to the epidemic, but though it failed to meet regulatory standards in 2004, Romney’s administration withdrew a reprimand and shortened a probation after the company said such punishment would hurts its business. The NECC’s owners have contributed to Romney’s campaign, Salon notes.
“It goes directly to the heart of what Romney says about regulation, ‘Hands off. Let the companies do their thing,’” says an attorney representing meningitis victims, who says the NECC was cited for failing to meet standards at least six times. “The philosophy of the Romney administration was to have lax regulations across the board,” adds a former health secretary in Massachusetts. Documents going back more than 10 years show a series of problems and complaints related to the NECC, including one regarding the same drug involved in the current outbreak. Click for more details. (Read more meningitis stories.)