Verdict Announced for Pharmacist at Center of NECC Meningitis Outbreak
The owner and head pharmacist of the compounding center found to be at fault for the deadly meningitis outbreak in 2012, Barry J. Cadden, has been convicted of racketeering but acquitted of 25 counts of second-degree murder. Sentencing for Mr. Cadden has been set for June 21.
The fungal meningitis outbreak was caused by contaminated injections of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (MPA), which sickened over 700 people and killed 64. Investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) traced the outbreak back to the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, MA in the fall of 2012. CDC inspectors found an infestation of bugs and mice in some rooms and general unhygienic conditions, including evidence that the laboratory did not leave enough time to sterilize products.
Mr. Cadden's former colleague, pharmacist Glenn Adam Chin, is awaiting his trial after also being charged with second-degree murder and racketeering. Mr. Chin was a supervising pharmacist at NECC involved in compounding the contaminated MPA that led to the outbreak. Chin was charged in the criminal complaint with participating in a scheme to fraudulently cause one lot of MPA to be labeled as injectable and shipped to Michigan Pain Specialists, a customer of NECC. Doctors at Michigan Pain Specialists injected the drug into patients after receiving the MPA, believing that it was sterile and fit for human use as per the injectable label. A total of 217 patients contracted fungal meningitis, of which 15 died.