Employees of the New England Compounding Center (NECC), accused of murder and racketeering after a deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak from tainted steroids the company sold, will now have to face those charges. U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns, a Massachusetts federal judge, denied the employees’ argument that a pattern of fraud and causation of death had not been established. At least eight workers at the pharmaceutical company face charges by the U.S. government of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act violations. Both Barry J. Cadden, the president and shareholder of the company, and Glenn Chin, the company’s supervising clean-room pharmacist, will face additional charges of second-degree murder for the 2012 outbreak that led to 64 deaths.
The outbreak was caused by tainted epidural steroid injections of methylprednisolone acetate compounded by NECC. The products went to customers in 23 states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 751 people in 20 states were diagnosed with fungal infections after receiving them and, according to prosecutors, 64 of those died.
Cadden and Glenn Chin were arrested in December and charged with second-degree murder. Twelve other people were arrested that day on multiple charges, including racketeering. Prosecutors say Cadden instructed Medical Sales Management Inc., which provided sales and administrative services to NECC, to falsely represent to customers that NECC was complying with the U.S. Pharmacopeia, which sets the standard for the identity, strength, quality and purity of medicines. Glenn Chin allegedly told pharmacy techs to prioritize production over cleanliness and to falsify cleaning records. Prosecutors say certain Defendants neglected to investigate contamination found in “clean rooms” in 37 out of 38 weeks in 2012.
The additional Defendants include director of operations Sharon Carter, clean room pharmacists Gene Svirskiy, Christopher M. Leary and Joseph M. Evanosky, “unlicensed clean room pharmacy technician” Scott Connolly, and checking pharmacist Alla V. Stepanets, among others. The case is in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
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