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House Republicans ask FDA for meningitis documents

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - House Republicans on Friday set a deadline for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to produce documents related to the deadly meningitis outbreak that swept across the nation in late 2012.

Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee first requested, in October, documents related to FDA's oversight of New England Compounding Center, the now defunct, Boston-area compounding pharmacy that was at the center of the outbreak.

But it says the agency produced few documents so far and that those it has "raise new and troubling questions" about the agency's oversight of NECC.

"If FDA does not produce all the responsive documents by 5:00 p.m. on February 25, 2013, the committee will move forward with a business meeting to compel their production," the committee said in a release.

"We hope a subpoena will not be necessary for the FDA to cooperate and help us determine what went wrong," said Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania.

The meningitis outbreak to date has killed 45 people and sickened almost 700 in 19 states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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