Trial For Meningitis Outbreak Linked To Framingham Pharmacy Begins

By Christie Abagon , Jan 04, 2017 08:25 PM EST

In 2012, sixty-four patients in nine US states died and at least 700 people in 20 states were diagnosed with fungal meningitis and other infections all because of an alleged contaminated medication.  This event is known to be the deadliest meningitis outbreak in US history.

Barry Cadded Pleaded Not Guilty

Barry Cadden, 50, co-founder and former head pharmacist of New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, has been charged with 25 counts of murder and other offenses under federal racketeering laws.  A jury selection for his trial is already set to begin Wednesday.  US News said that Cadden has pleaded not guilty.

The 2012 national meningitis outbreak is said to have been caused by contaminated vials of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate, a steroid manufactured by the compounding pharmacy, CNN reported.  Glenn A. Chin, NECC's supervisory pharmacist, is also charged with 25 counts of second-degree murder, but a trial date for him has not been set yet. 

In 2014, the US Justice Department noted that the murder charges do "not require the government to prove Cadden and Chin had specific intent to kill the 25 patients, but rather that (they) acted with extreme indifference to human life."  According to health officials, those behind NECC are to be blamed for the meningitis outbreak.  The indictment claims that NECC failed to comply with cleaning, sterilization and other safety regulations, and those who worked there, including pharmacists and owners, actively lied about it. 

NECC Filed For Bankruptcy A Year After They Created A $100 Million Fund For Victims

NECC voluntarily recalled three lots of the steroid in September of 2012 after the first cases were reported.  In October of the same year, though, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, working with the Food and Drug Administration, reported that it had "identified serious deficiencies and significant violations of pharmacy law and regulations that clearly placed the public's health at risk."  In 2013, the company created a $100 million fund for victims, but a about a year after, they filed for bankruptcy. 

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