Pharmacy owners arrested in ’12 meningitis outbreak

17 Dec 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

14 Arrested in Meningitis Deaths Linked to New England Compounding Center.

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. Two owners and 12 other people associated with the Framingham compounding company blamed for sending toxic prescriptions across the country, allegedly killing 64 people, were arrested on federal charges Wednesday morning in a series of pre-dawn raids, officials said. Barry Cadden, a co-founder of the New England Compounding Center, and Glenn Adam Chin, a pharmacist who was in charge of the sterile room, are accused in a federal indictment of “acting in wanton and willful disregard of the likelihood ” that their actions would cause death or great bodily harm. Among those arrested were the two founders of the company, Gregory Conigliaro and Barry Cadden, who were both taken into custody this morning at their homes in Massachusetts, the spokeswoman, Christina DiIorio-Sterling, told The Associated Press.

The specific charges are expected to be disclosed later at a news conference, and all the defendants were expected to make an initial court appearance on Wednesday. The pharmacy gave up its license and filed for bankruptcy protection after it was flooded with hundreds of lawsuits filed by victims and their families. US Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office has set an 11 a.m. press conference to detail the allegations against those under arrest and to describe its long-running investigation. The contamination caused an uproar and prompted new legislation about compounding pharmacies, which make specialized formulations of drugs for patients with particular needs. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that about 750 people contracted fungal meningitis or related diseases from the tainted drugs.

Over the years, such companies have grown into mass manufacturers distributing medicine all over the country, virtually unregulated by the federal government. The family later branched into pharmaceuticals, riding changes in the health care landscape to become a major supplier of tailor-made drugs to hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices across the nation.

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