Justice is finally near for families who suffered or lost loved ones during the deadly meningitis outbreak of 2012. With jury selection set to begin as soon as this week, Barry Cadden, as well as senior pharmacist Glenn Chin will soon know their fates. The two have been charged with 25 counts of second-degree murder and a slew of other charges, including offenses under the federal racketeering laws. Barry himself is the co-founder and “former head pharmacist of New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham,” but since the charges were filed against Cadden, the pharmacy has had to surrender its license and file for bankruptcy protection.
For those unfamiliar with the case, Cadden and others are being blamed for a meningitis outbreak that resulted in the deaths of 64 people in 2012. In total, an estimated 750 people throughout 20 states fell ill after receiving contaminated steroids, and some of those who fell ill and recovered were even questioned during the investigation. According to the investigation, many of NECC’s senior pharmacists were aware that drugs were being created in contaminated labs, often with expired ingredients. Some technicians even faked documentation to “convince regulators that appropriate cleaning and disinfecting protocols were followed.” As a result, strict regulations have been put in place for other pharmacies that regularly mix custom medications for doctors and hospitals.
The meningitis outbreak caused outrage across the country, and senior officials at the time came out condemning NECC. Former Attorney General Eric Holder even came out and said in a statement, “actions like the ones alleged in this case display not only a reckless disregard for health and safety regulations but also an extreme and appalling indifference to human life. American consumers have a right to know that their medications are safe to use, and this case proves that the Department of Justice will always stand resolute to ensure that right, to protect the American people and to hold wrongdoers accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Since charges were filed, Cadden has had to forfeit all of his valuables, like money, retirement accounts, property, and other luxury items. If convicted on all charges, he could be spending the rest of his life behind bars. So far, Cadden has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyer has claimed a gross overreach by prosecutors in charging him with causing the 64 deaths.
Lesser charges have also been filed against other defendants, including Gregory Conigliaro, co-founder of NECC, and 12 other employees. Charges include the following:
- Mail Fraud
- Structuring and Violations of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
Jury selection began Wednesday, January 4, 2017, and about 200 possible jurors have been summoned to fill out preliminary questionnaires. Individual questioning will get underway on Friday.