Settlement Seeks $100 Million for Meningitis Victims

By CBS News

Published 05/07 2014 05:41PM

Updated 05/07 2014 05:42PM

CBSNews -- In what was the worst pharmaceutical disaster in decades, victims' families stand to gain more than $100 million. But for some, the money is not enough.

"I actually screamed when they gave it to me. It felt like really really thick going in."

Kel Papaleo knew right away something was wrong. This longtime laborer and landscaper was on disability when she came to a New Hampshire clinic for help.

A year and a half later, she is dying.

"It’s just working its way through my body and sometimes it's crippling,” she says.

At 46 years old, Papaleo suffers from boils, constant infection, vision loss, and last year she collapsed from a heart attack.

"I was living with the pain the whole time and it was growing and growing and growing to the point where it killed me,” she says.

It all stems from an injection sold by New England Compounding Center; tainted drugs that have now been linked to 751 cases and 64 deaths throughout the country.

The four Massachusetts founders filed bankruptcy, but have now finally settled with victims to the tune of $100 million.

"The reality is there will never be enough money to compensate these victims and their families for all they have lost,” says the victims’ attorney, Kristen Johnson. “But this is a very good starting point."

According Johnson, those suffering could see the money next year.

For Papaleo, that's too late. She can't afford the $1500 per month medication that could save her life and these hospital bills are stacking up.

The victims' attorney says this civil settlement will provide some immediate relief.

A federal grand jury continues to meet in Boston to consider criminal charges.

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