Dec 17, 2014 9:17 AM

Pharmacy officials face racketeering charges

The Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) A co-owner and a pharmacist at a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy blamed for a 2012 deadly meningitis outbreak face charges of racketeering for allegedly causing the deaths of patients who received tainted steroids manufactured by the company, federal officials said Wednesday.

Barry Cadden, a co-founder of the New England Compounding Center, and Glenn Adam Chin, a pharmacist who was in charge of the sterile room, are accused in a federal indictment of "acting in wanton and willful disregard of the likelihood " that their actions would cause death or great bodily harm, officials said.

The two were among 14 charged in indictment released Wednesday. The others face charges ranging from mail fraud to the introduction of adulterated and misbranded drugs into interstate commerce.

Two co-founders and 12 other former employees of the compounding pharmacy blamed for a fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people were arrested early Wednesday.

Gregory Conigliaro and Barry, co-founders of the center in Framingham, were among the 14 arrested at their homes around the state, U.S. attorney's office spokeswoman Christina DiIorio-Sterling said.

A home number for Cadden rang busy, and a woman who answered the phone at a listing for Conigliaro said it was the wrong number.

Chin, a former supervisory pharmacist, had been charged with mail fraud in September.

Tainted steroids manufactured by the pharmacy were blamed for a 2012 outbreak. About 750 people in 20 states developed meningitis or other infections after receiving the contaminated steroids. Michigan, Tennessee and Indiana were the hardest-hit states.

All those arrested were expected to make an initial court appearance later Wednesday.

The pharmacy gave up its license and filed for bankruptcy protection after it was flooded with hundreds of lawsuits filed by victims and their families.

NECC was founded in 1998 by brothers-in-law Cadden and Conigliaro. Cadden, who is married to Conigliaro's sister, Lisa, earned a pharmacy degree from the University of Rhode Island. Conigliaro is an engineer.


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