Owner of company responsible for fungal meningitis outbreak convicted

NOW: Owner of company responsible for fungal meningitis outbreak convicted

The man whose company was responsible for the tainted injections that infected over 750 patients with fungal meningitis was convicted on racketeering and mail fraud charges in federal court. Three people in Michiana died from the tainted injections.

Barry Cadden, 50, the owner and head pharmacist of the New England Compounding Center, was convicted of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud and introduction of misbranded drugs into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud and mislead.

He was found not guilty on the 25 counts of second degree murder.

The trial lasted nine weeks.

The US Attorney's Office says 753 patients in 20 states were diagnosed with fungal meningitis after receiving injections of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (MPA) manufactured by NECC.

Of those 753 patients, 64 patients in nine states died.

Pauline Burema, Kathy Dillon and Alice Machowiak died after receiving tainted injections in Michiana.

The outbreak was the largest public health crisis ever caused by a pharmaceutical product, the government said.

The US attorney's office says Cadden authorized the drugs to be shipped before receiving test results indicating whether the drugs were sterile, never notified customers they were not sterile, and compounded drugs with expired ingredients.

In addition, some batches were manufactured by an unlicensed pharmacy technician at NECC.

The US Attorney's Office says Cadden shielded NECC's operations from regulatory oversight by claiming to dispense drugs for patient specific prescriptions. However, NECC dispensed drugs in bulk without prescriptions.

The government said the company even used the names of celebrities on fake prescriptions such as Michael Jackson, Freddie Mae and Diana Ross.

Cadden faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years on each mail fraud and racketeering count.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 21, 2017.

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