Mass. pharmacists arrested for 2012 meningitis deaths

17 Dec 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

Massachusetts pharmacy employees arrested, charged with causing deaths in 2012 meningitis outbreak.

BOSTON — Federal officials say a co-owner and a pharmacist at a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy blamed for a 2012 deadly meningitis outbreak have been charged with racketeering for allegedly causing the deaths of patients who received tainted steroids manufactured by the company.

FILE – In this Oct. 9, 2012 file photo provided by the Minnesota Department of Health are vials of the injectable steroid product in Minneapolis made by New England Compounding Center implicated in a fungal meningitis outbreak.Fourteen officials, pharmacists and technicians tied to the Massachusetts company involved in a deadly U.S. meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people were indicted by a grand jury on racketeering and conspiracy charges. The 2012 outbreak led to calls by Congress for greater federal oversight of compounding pharmacies, which provide health-care companies with tailored drug mixtures that aren’t commercially available.

The center’s facilities were in “deplorable” physical condition when they were probed by state and federal health investigators after the outbreak, according to related complaints against the company filed by victims and families. Authorities found contaminated vials of medicine, dirty surfaces and equipment in supposedly “clean rooms” where medicine was prepared, incorrect room temperatures, leaky boilers and air contaminants, according to court papers. The exact charges are expected to be disclosed at a news conference later Wednesday, and all expected to make an initial court appearance later in the day. Gregory Conigliaro and Barry, co-founders of the center in Framingham, were among the 14 arrested at their homes around the state, U.S. attorney’s office spokeswoman Christina DiIorio-Sterling said.

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