WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republicans are threatening to subpoena documents from the Food and Drug Administration as they investigate whether the agency could have prevented a deadly outbreak of meningitis caused by contaminated drugs.
Republicans on the committee investigating the outbreak sent a letter to the FDA, demanding the agency turn over internal documents concerning the New England Compounding Center.
The pharmacy produced a contaminated steroid, used mainly to treat back pain, that is blamed for fungal meningitis that has killed 45 people and sickened more than 600.
The FDA inspected the Massachusetts-based pharmacy three times and issued a warning letter in 2006, but never shut the operation down.
The lawmakers say they will consider issuing a subpoena if the agency doesn't turn over key documents related to the case by February 25.