Pharmacy executive in deadly US meningitis outbreak gets stiffer, 14.5-year prison term
A founder of a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy whose mold-tainted drugs sparked a deadly US fungal meningitis outbreak in 2012 was re-sentenced on Wednesday (Jul 7) to 14.5 years in prison after a federal appeals court overturned his earlier 9-year term.
BOSTON: A founder of a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy whose mold-tainted drugs sparked a deadly US fungal meningitis outbreak in 2012 was re-sentenced on Wednesday (Jul 7) to 14.5 years in prison after a federal appeals court overturned his earlier 9-year term.
US District Judge Richard Stearns in Boston said the appellate court at least implicitly deemed as too light the original sentence for Barry Cadden, the co-founder and former president of the now-defunct New England Compounding Center (NECC).
"I do not personally agree, but so it is with many of the things I'm required to do as a judge," he said.
Assistant US Attorney Amanda Strachan said the prior sentence minimised Cadden's conduct, which "grievously harmed" his victims.
She sought half the 35 years that prosecutors originally sought for Cadden, a stiff term that defence lawyer Bruce Singal said was too high for a fraud offence.
Stearns also ordered Cadden, 54, to pay US$82 million in restitution to his victims and forfeit US$1.4 million to the government.
Prosecutors had sought 17.5 years for Cadden after successfully appealing Stearns' initial decision to sentence Cadden and Glenn Chin, NECC's supervisory pharmacist, to nine and eight years in custody, respectively.
Both men were separately convicted in 2017 of racketeering and fraud over misrepresentations to NECC customers about its drugs, but were cleared of second-degree murder charges related to 25 patients' deaths.
Prosecutors said those deaths stemmed from a fungal meningitis outbreak traced back to mold-tainted steroids that Framingham, Massachusetts-based NECC produced in filthy and unsafe conditions and sold to hospitals and clinics nationally.
The outbreak sickened 793 patients, more than 100 of whom have died, prosecutors said.
A federal appeals court last year concluded Stearns in determining the original sentences wrongly concluded that only the hospitals that bought NECC's drugs counted as victims and not any patients injected with its contaminated medications.
Stearns will re-sentence Chin on Thursday. Cadden and Chin are in custody awaiting trial on separate second-degree murder charges in Michigan, which was hit hard by the outbreak.