Trial concluding for pharmacist charged
in deadly U.S. meningitis outbreak
Send a link to a friend
[March 16, 2017]
By Nate Raymond
BOSTON (Reuters) - Closing arguments are
scheduled for Thursday in the trial of the co-founder of a now-defunct
Massachusetts pharmacy charged with murder and racketeering for his role
in a 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people across the United
Barry Cadden, 50, is the one of two former pharmacists at the New
England Compounding Center accused of second-degree murder in an
outbreak that sickened 751 people in 20 states. Prosecutors called the
outbreak the largest U.S. public health crisis involving a
During his two-month trial in Boston federal court, prosecutors accused
Cadden of directing the shipment of steroids often prescribed for back
pain that were tainted with fungal meningitis, even though he knew they
were made in unsanitary conditions at NECC's Framingham, Massachusetts,
Cadden has pleaded not guilty to 96 criminal counts, including 25
racketeering acts of second-degree murder. He could be sentenced to life
in prison if convicted.
The case led to strict regulations on compounding pharmacies, which mix
drugs but previously were treated with a lighter hand than registered
drug manufacturers. Inspections after the outbreak turned up bugs, birds
and other unsterile conditions at an NECC affiliate.
NECC filed for bankruptcy in 2014 and in 2015 it agreed to pay $200
million to victims and creditors, a sum that included funds seized from
Prosecutors accused Cadden of prioritizing profits over patients,
earning millions of dollars without concern about who was using his
In total, NECC in 2012 sent out 17,600 vials of steroids called
methylprednisolone acetate contaminated with mold to 23 states, all
labeled to indicate they were sterile and all in bags carrying Cadden's
initials, prosecutors said.
Defense lawyers did not dispute that people died after being injected
with the steroid but said Cadden had nothing to do with their deaths.
[to top of second column]
Barry Cadden is seen in this 2000 booking photo by released by
Wrentham Police Department in Wrentham, Massachusetts, U.S. on March
7, 2017. Courtesy Wrentham Police Department/Handout via REUTERS
They described the contamination as an isolated incident and said
NECC had shipped out 852,000 vials in the 6-1/2 years leading up the
outbreak without any deaths.
Supervisory pharmacist Glenn Chin also is accused of racketeering
acts of second-degree murder and will be tried separately.
Lesser charges were filed against 10 other people. Three have
pleaded guilty, including NECC's former majority owner and her
husband, who were accused of financial crimes related to the case.
A federal judge dismissed charges against two defendants in October.
Charges remain pending against the other five.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Scott Malone and Bill Trott)
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.