U.S. judge doesn't rule on motion to freeze meningitis firm assets

BOSTON Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:47pm EST

A sign for pharmaceutical compounding company New England Compounding Center (NECC), a producer of the steroid methylprednisolone acetate, is seen in Framingham, Massachusetts October 8, 2012. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

A sign for pharmaceutical compounding company New England Compounding Center (NECC), a producer of the steroid methylprednisolone acetate, is seen in Framingham, Massachusetts October 8, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi

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BOSTON (Reuters) - A federal judge in Boston on Tuesday declined to make an immediate ruling on whether to freeze the assets of New England Compounding Center and its owners, which are battling investigations into a deadly U.S. meningitis outbreak.

U.S. District Judge Dennis Saylor said he would take the matter under advisement after a two-hour hearing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 34 people have died and 490 have been injured after Framingham, Massachusetts-based NECC shipped thousands of fungus-tainted vials of methylprednisolone acetate to medical facilities throughout the United States. The steroid was typically used to ease back pain.

(Reporting By Tim McLaughlin; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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