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An East Greenwich man was one of fourteen people indicted Wednesday in connection with the 2012 deadly fungal meningitis outbreak caused by improper handling of pharmaceuticals at the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass.
Scott M. Connelly was charged with crimes including racketeering, mail fraud, conspiracy, contempt, structuring, and violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
The outbreak was caused by contaminated vials of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (MPA) manufactured by NECC. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 751 patients in 20 states were diagnosed with a fungal infection after receiving injections of NECC’s MPA. Of those 751 patients, the CDC reported that 64 patients in 9 states died.
“As alleged in the indictment, these employees knew they were producing their medication in an unsafe manner and in insanitary conditions, and authorized it to be shipped out anyway, with fatal results,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.
NECC owner and head pharmacist, Barry J. Cadden, and the supervisory pharmacist, Glenn A. Chin, were charged with 25 acts of second-degree murder in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Connelly was a pharmacy technician for NECC, according to the Boston Globe: “From January 2010 to August 2012, he worked in Clean Room 2 although he had surrendered his state license following a disciplinary action in 2009. With the knowledge of Cadden, Chin, and [Gene] Svirskiy, the unlicensed Connolly allegedly made cardioplegia drugs for hospitals to use when they stopped a patient’s heart during surgery. Connolly used Cadden’s login to hide his role in the company, prosecutors say.”
“Ever since the outbreak occurred, we have been committed to bringing to justice the individuals responsible for the deaths and suffering of so many innocent victims,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz for the District of Massachusetts. “The indictment announced today is the first step in that process which addresses alleged criminal wrongdoing at NECC, a business that prioritized production and profit over safety. We will make every effort to ensure that licensed pharmacists, and those working with them, are held to a standard of care that protects the public from unsafe and dangerous medications.”
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