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14 Arrested After Deadly Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

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December 17, 2014 — The co-founders and 12 employees of New England Compounding Pharmacy (NECC) were arrested early this morning in connection with an outbreak of fungal meningitis in 2012, which killed 64 people.

U.S. Attorney General in Boston issued a 73-page indictment that included 24 counts of second-degree murder, racketeering, conspiracy, and mail fraud. The most serious charges were filed against the co-founders and the head pharmacist.

The New York Times reports that the arrests include Barry Cadden and Greg Conigliaro, who co-founded NECC in 1998.

The head pharmacist, Glenn A. Chin, was previously arrested in September after attempting to board a plane to Hong Kong.

The federal indictment seeks forfeiture of Cadden’s massive estate in Wrentham, Massachusetts, if he is convicted. The company has already declared bankruptcy and dozens of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of people who were injured or killed.

The outbreak of fungal meningitis injured at least 750 people in 20 states. Although compounding pharmacies are supposed to only make custom medications for individual patients, NECC was operating like a miniature pharmaceutical company, mass-producing thousands of vials of injectable medications and shipping them throughout the country without a license.

According to U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, the company acted with “extreme disregard for human life.” There is evidence that prescriptions were fabricated with names like “Big Baby Jesus,” “Michael Jackson,” and “Diana Ross” instead of actual patients. Ortiz said the “clean rooms” failed to meet the “most basic health standard.”

 

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