11/07/2012 04:22 pm ET Updated Jan 08, 2013

James Coffey, Massachusetts Board Of Pharmacy Director, Fired After Meningitis Outbreak

BOSTON, Nov 7 (Reuters) - The director of the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy has been terminated after failing to disclose a complaint against New England Compounding Center, the pharmacy at the center of a deadly U.S meningitis outbreak, state officials said on Wednesday.

Massachusetts officials said they uncovered a complaint against NECC that was forwarded on July 26 to James Coffey, director of the state's pharmacy board.

Coffey failed to order an investigation or take any other action on the Colorado complaint, Massachusetts Department of Public Health Interim Commissioner Dr. Lauren Smith said in a statement.

Smith said Coffey has been terminated and the pharmacy board's counsel, Susan Manning, has been placed on administrative leave.

"It is incomprehensible that Mr. Coffey and Ms. Manning did not act on the Colorado complaint given NECC's past, and their responsibility to investigate complaints," Smith said in a statement. "Following the outbreak, staff also failed to disclose the existence of Colorado's complaint to leadership at (Department of Public Health)."