Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The ex-owner of a pharmacy connected to a dangerous 2012 fungal meningitis incident admits to involuntary manslaughter charges without contest

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Barry Cadden, the person who used to own a pharmacy in Massachusetts connected to a dangerous fungal meningitis outbreak in 2012, admitted on Monday that he is guilty of 11 counts of accidentally causing deaths in Michigan due to contaminated drugs.

Federal prosecutors stated that over 100 people in the United States died, and at least 11 of them were from Michigan. They had received injections from the pharmacy, known as the New England Compounding Center (NECC), owned by Cadden. The drugs given to these Michigan residents were contaminated, as per the Michigan Department of Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Cadden, who was responsible for the pharmacy, didn’t follow basic safety rules. This negligence led to the death of 11 patients in Michigan, according to Nessel. She emphasized the importance of trusting medications and ensuring that doctors aren’t unknowingly giving harmful substances.

Cadden is set to spend 10 to 15 years in prison, and this sentence will overlap with the federal sentence he’s already serving for his involvement in the outbreak. The sentencing is scheduled for April 18.

In 2012, nearly 800 people across 20 states were diagnosed with a fungal infection after getting injections from contaminated medicine made by NECC. It became the largest health crisis caused by a tainted pharmaceutical drug in the U.S.

Cadden’s attorney, Bruce Singal, expressed sympathy for the victims in 2017 but had nothing more to add.

Compounding pharmacists create personalized medications for individuals. Cadden’s pharmacy, however, operated in an extremely unsafe way, neglecting sterility procedures, and even faking cleaning records and testing results, according to the Michigan attorney general.

Cadden authorized shipments of contaminated steroids to customers all over the U.S. before confirming their sterility, and he compounded drugs using expired ingredients, said Massachusetts prosecutors in 2021. They also revealed that Cadden deceived regulatory authorities by posing as a pharmacy following valid prescriptions, even using fake names like ‘Michael Jackson’ and ‘Diana Ross.’

In 2017, Cadden received a nine-year prison sentence for over 50 charges, including racketeering. In 2021, he was resentenced to 14.5 years in prison, along with financial penalties.

Many others connected to the pharmacy faced convictions too. The NECC settled for $200 million in 2015, with $10.5 million designated for victims and families in Michigan.

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