Pharmacists Charged with 25 Murders in Meningitis Outbreak

Published on December 20, 2014, at

Responsible for the deaths of at least 64 people resulting from injections of contaminated medication, the co-owner and supervisory pharmacist of a compounding pharmacy were charged this week with 25 acts of second-degree murder. Sacrificing safety standards for profit, 14 suspects associated with the pharmacy have been charged with 131 counts including conspiracy, mail fraud, racketeering, and violations of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Although the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists (IACP) believes this is an isolated incident, sources assert these crimes occur on a daily basis in compounding pharmacies throughout the nation.

In response to the 2012 nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 751 patients in 20 states were diagnosed with a fungal infection after receiving injections of a contaminated corticosteroid called methylprednisolone acetate. Of those 751 patients, the CDC reported that 64 patients in nine states died. The Justice Department discovered the tainted corticosteroids had been compounded and shipped from the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Massachusetts.

Co-owner and head pharmacist at NECC, Barry Cadden and his supervisory pharmacist, Glenn Chin, have been charged with 25 counts of second-degree murder for their wanton negligence and complete disregard for safety protocols. Instead of sterilizing their equipment or clean room, the pharmacists allowed bacteria and mold to contaminate the room while falsifying logs claiming they had disinfected the area. Using expired ingredients, Cadden and Chin also failed to test medications for sterility before shipping them to hospitals and pain clinics.

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