Compounding Pharmacists Arrested for Deadly Meningitis Outbreak

DECEMBER 16, 2014
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor
Two cofounders of a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy, plus 12 other former employees, have been arrested for allegedly distributing tainted drugs that caused a fungal meningitis outbreak in 2012, killing 64 individuals.

Barry Cadden, a cofounder of the New England Compounding Center, and Glenn Adam Chin, a pharmacist, are accused of racketeering and second-degree murder in 7 states for their actions that led to the outbreak, according to the 73-page indictment.

Among the many violations listed in the indictment are accusations that the pharmacy employees used expired ingredients while compounding drugs, created false documentation with made-up expiration dates, failed to properly sterilize drugs, and failed to comply with disinfecting practices. The indictment also listed 25 predicate acts of second-degree murder.

Gregory Conigliaro, the pharmacy’s other cofounder, was arrested at his house on December 17, 2014, according to the US attorney’s office.

The compounding pharmacy employees were charged with various crimes, including mail fraud and the introduction of adulterated and misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, according to WoodTV.

The deadly meningitis outbreak started in 2012, and more than 680 people developed meningitis or other infections after receiving the pharmacy’s tainted drugs, according to The New York Times.

States with the most amount of people affected by the drugs were Michigan, Tennessee, and Indiana, according to WoodTV.

Following lawsuits from the families of those infected, the pharmacy forfeited its license and filed for bankruptcy protection, WoodTV reported.