Trial Ahead for Pharmacist Over 2012 Meningitis Outbreak

JANUARY 03, 2017
Jennifer Barrett, Assistant Editor

A national outbreak of fungal meningitis that was linked to the New England Compounding Center (NECC), brought to light concerns about contamination in compounding facilities.
 
Despite the NECC’s claims that regulations were followed, prosecutors in a Boston court allege the pharmacy’s tainted products led to 750 meningitis infections nationwide and 64 deaths and they are putting Barry Cadden, co-founder and former head pharmacist of the NECC, on trial in connection with the outbreak, according to a report from CBSnews.com. 
 
Once the outbreak was traced back to the NECC, a 60 Minutes investigation into the pharmacy revealed a possible violation of their Massachusetts permit by mass-producing large quantities of the contaminated steroids without FDA approval, rather than preparing specific prescriptions for individual patients. The produced batches, including the contaminated vials, were distributed nationwide, according to the report.
 
Federal prosecutors allege that the facility manufactured their products with expired ingredients and ignored industry cleanliness and safety standards. The outbreak led to new federal and state laws aimed at more effective regulations for compounding facilities and elicited criminal investigations into the matter. The NECC issued a nationwide recall of the compounded drug, but the damage was already done.
 
Cadden has been charged with 25 counts of murder and other offenses under federal racketeering laws. His attorney has argued that the prosecutors’ murder charges was an “overreach,” according to the CBSnews.com report.
 
He is scheduled to start trial on Wednesday, and jury selection is expected to begin on Friday. Cadden previously pleaded not guilty and is currently free on bail. 
 

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