Sunday, April 14, 2024

A person who used to own a pharmacy involved in the 2012 fungal meningitis problem admitted guilt to unintentionally causing someone’s death

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Barry Cadden, the former owner of a pharmacy in Massachusetts connected to a dangerous fungal meningitis outbreak in 2012, admitted on Monday to not contesting 11 charges of unintentional manslaughter related to the deaths of Michigan residents from tainted drugs.

Prosecutors stated that over 100 people died in the United States due to the outbreak. Among them were at least 11 people in Michigan who received injections from the New England Compounding Center (NECC), owned by Cadden. The drugs were contaminated, leading to the deaths, according to the Michigan Department of Attorney General Dana Nessel.

The drugs given to the Michigan residents were impure, as per the attorney general’s office.

“Cadden managed his drug lab without following basic safety rules, and as a result, he tragically caused the death of eleven Michigan patients,” said Nessel in a statement. “Patients should trust that their medicines are safe, and doctors must be confident they’re not giving harmful substances.”

Cadden is set to serve 10 to 15 years in prison, alongside a federal sentence he’s already serving for the same outbreak. His sentencing is scheduled for April 18, as per the release. CNN couldn’t reach Cadden’s lawyer for comment.

In 2012, nearly 800 people across 20 states got fungal infections after receiving injections from contaminated medicine vials made by NECC, reported the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. This outbreak is called the “largest public health crisis ever caused by a contaminated pharmaceutical drug.”

Cadden’s attorney, Bruce Singal, expressed sympathy for the outbreak victims in 2017, saying they had “nothing more to say.”

Compounding pharmacists create personalized medications for individuals, usually making a couple of doses per patient to lower production costs, as reported by CNN.

The Michigan attorney general accused Cadden of neglecting safety procedures, endorsing unsafe practices, and manipulating records and test results.

Cadden authorized shipments of contaminated steroid methylprednisolone acetate to customers across the US. He didn’t confirm their sterility before sending and used expired ingredients. He also shielded NECC from FDA oversight by claiming to dispense drugs based on valid prescriptions, although the pharmacy routinely dispensed drugs in bulk without valid prescriptions, using fake names like ‘Michael Jackson’ and ‘Diana Ross.’

Cadden was sentenced in 2017 to nine years in prison, convicted of over 50 charges. In 2021, he was resentenced to 14.5 years, along with financial penalties. More than a dozen people linked to the pharmacy have been convicted.

In 2015, NECC and affiliated companies settled for $200 million with victims and families across the US, including $10.5 million for Michigan victims and their families, according to Nessel’s office.

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