Published: Fri, March 24, 2017
Research | By Francis Brooks

New England Compounding Center owner convicted for role in deadly meningitis outbreak

New England Compounding Center owner convicted for role in deadly meningitis outbreak

A jury in Boston convicted Barry J. Cadden of more than 50 counts of mail fraud for his part in peddling unsterile drugs that led to a national outbreak of fungal meningitis in 2012 that infected more than 750 patients and killed 60.

Cadden, however, was found guilty of racketeering, conspiracy and mail fraud charges, the Associated Press reported.

Cadden's acquittal on the second-degree murder charges means he is spared the possibility of a life prison sentence.

"This trial revealed that, among other things, Mr. Cadden participated in a massive fraud in which NECC masqueraded as a pharmacy when it was in fact manufacturing drugs", he added.

Jurors deliberated for five days. Sentencing was scheduled for June 21. Cadden is free on bail.

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"We are very gratified by the verdicts today. Those are extremely serious offenses, and they carry very stiff penalties", said William Weinreb, acting US attorney for the District of MA, after the verdict was announced. At the end of the scare, 732 people were found to have been infected by meningitis and other infections, while 64 died.

According to prosecutors, Cadden allowed contaminated drugs to be shipped nationwide. And they said the center didn't comply with guidelines on cleaning, sterilization and other safety regulations.

"It is a disgrace he was charged with murder", said Cadden's attorney Bruce Singal after the verdict was handed down. While they had been asked to consider 25 deaths, and could not unanimously agree on a guilty verdict on any of them, jurors seemed more willing to say guilty to deaths that happened in certain states. He wanted to make it look like his compounding pharmacy was filling individual prescriptions, prosecutors alleged.

NECC and several related companies reached a $200 million civil settlement with victims and their families. Former member of a special MA commission to investigate compounding pharmacies following the 2012 outbreak.

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