Top News in Internal Medicine #3 of 8

Pharmacy exec tied to 2012 US meningitis outbreak gets 9 years in prison

Reuters Health News

A former Massachusetts pharmacy executive was sentenced to nine years in prison on Monday after being convicted of racketeering and fraud charges for his role in a deadly US meningitis outbreak in 2012.

Prosecutors had asked US District Judge Richard Stearns to sentence Barry Cadden, 50, the co–founder and former president of the now–defunct New England Compounding Center, to at least 35 years in prison. They said he had directed the production of drugs at the compounding pharmacy in unsanitary and dangerous ways in order to boost profits.

Prosecutors said those shortcuts and Cadden's greed led to 778 people nationwide being harmed after receiving injections of contaminated steroids that Cadden's company produced. That includes 76 people who died, they said.

Cadden was convicted in March of fraud and racketeering by a federal jury in Boston but cleared of the harshest charges he faced, second–degree murder.

Cadden was one of 14 people tied to Framingham, Massachusetts–based compounding center indicted in 2014 following the outbreak. He was one of only two people to face second–degree murder charges.

Prosecutors said Cadden, the compounding pharmacy's head pharmacist, ran the company as a criminal enterprise, selling substandard and non–sterile drugs to medical facilities nationwide.

They said Cadden directed the shipment of 17,600 vials of contaminated steroids often prescribed for back pain despite knowing they were made in unsafe conditions, leading to the outbreak.

—Nate Raymond