In late June of this year, we discussed the sentencing of Barry Cadden, the owner and head pharmacist at the New England Compounding Center (NECC), for his role in the 2012/2013 meningitis outbreak that sickened hundreds and led to the deaths of 76 people. Cadden had been found guilty by a federal court jury of racketeering and fraud, but the jury declined to convict on second-degree murder charges.
Yesterday, in a trial related to the same outbreak, a federal court jury in Boston began deliberations in the case of NECC supervisory pharmacist Glenn Chin. Chin is alleged to have been part of a “massive fraud” contrived by Cadden, Chin and nearly a dozen others to “sell a lot of drugs.” Chin is also charged with 25 counts of second-degree murder for his role in compounding the spinal epidural medications that lead to the deaths of dozens of people due to lab contamination.
Federal prosecutors, bolstered by the testimony of some of Chin’s former colleagues, argued that Chin knew he was making nonsterile products, ignored safety issues in the lab, including the presence of mold, failed to property conduct tests of the drugs he compounded, passed off expired drugs as safe products, and mislabeled prescriptions. The Assistant U.S. Attorney prosecuting the case remarked during closing arguments that Chin was “so much more than careless” and should be held accountable for the deaths.
Chin’s defense team, however, argued that Cadden failed to properly train Chin and that Chin learned “way too late” that Cadden was someone that he should not have trusted or listened to. Chin’s lawyers also noted that the FDA, despite taking 41 samples from surfaces at NECC, never located the source of the contamination. Chin’s attorneys say that he is not responsible for the deaths, arguing that prosecutors failed to provide any evidence that Chin caused the drugs to become contaminated.
The case is now in the hands of the jury and we will keep you updated on the verdict.