NECC pharmacist owner charged with second-degree murder

December 17, 2014

The owner and head pharmacist of the now-defunct New England Compounding Center (NECC), based in Framingham, Mass., and the supervisory pharmacist were charged with 25 counts of second-degree murder in seven states, more than two years following a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak, according to December 17 statement by the U.S. Justice Department.

The owner and head pharmacist of the now-defunct New England Compounding Center (NECC), based in Framingham, Mass., and the supervisory pharmacist were charged with 25 counts of second-degree murder in seven states, more than two years following a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak, according to December 17 statement by the U.S. Justice Department.

Related news: Two congressmen ask Justice Department to investigate meningitis outbreak

The outbreak, which sickened more than 750 patients in 20 states, was attributed to contaminated vials of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (MPA), compounded by NECC under allegedly insanitary conditions. The MPA, used by medical facilities to help patients with pain relief, resulted in 64 deaths in nine states, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Barry J. Cadden, NECC’s owner and head pharmacist, and Glenn A. Chin, the supervising pharmacist, were charged with second-degree murder under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The charges are related to the deaths of patients in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Twelve other individuals at NECC, including six pharmacists as well as an unlicensed pharmacy technician, were charged with crimes, including racketeering, mail fraud, conspiracy, contempt, and violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

“The indictment announced today is the first step in that process which addresses alleged criminal wrongdoing at NECC, a business that prioritized production and profit over safety. We will make every effort to ensure that licensed pharmacists and those working with them, are held to a standard of care that protects the public from unsafe and dangerous medications,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz for the District of Massachusetts.

If Cadden and Chin are convicted on all counts, they face a maximum of up to life in prison.