A meningitis outbreak in 2012 was traced to fungus contaminated drugs and killed 64 people across America in 20 states. The outbreak also caused 700 people to fall ill.
The outbreak was traced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to contaminated injections of medical steroids, given mostly to people with back pain.
The former head of a Massachusetts pharmacy, Barry Cadden, was acquitted Wednesday of murder allegations in this outbreak but was convicted of racketeering and other crimes. His sentencing is scheduled for June 21st.
The racketeering charge and the 52 counts of fraud carry up to 20 years in prison each, but federal sentencing guidelines typically call for far less than the maximum.
Cadden was the president and co-founder of the now-closed New England Compounding Center.
The NECC filed for bankruptcy after getting hit with hundreds of lawsuits and it and several related companies reached a $200 million settlement with victims and their families.
According to prosecutors, Cadden, 50, ran the business in an “extraordinarily dangerous” way by disregarding unsanitary conditions to boost production and make more money.
He was charged with 25 counts of second-degree murder, conspiracy and other offenses under federal racketeering law.
It took the jury five days of delliberations but they refused to hold Cadden responsible for the deaths and cleared him on the murder counts.
Joan Peay, 76, of Nashville, Tennessee was a victim who suffered two bouts of meningitis after receiving a shot for back pain.
“He killed people and he’s getting away with murder. I am furious,” she said. Peay says she still suffers from hearing loss, memory problems, a stiff neck and low energy.
Alfred Rye, 77, of Maybee, Michigan, said: “I wish I could give him the same shot he gave me. I think they should pay for their crime.”
According to Cadden’s lawyer, Bruce Singal, Cadden was not responsible for the deaths and instead blames Glenn Chin, a supervisory pharmacist who ran the clean rooms where drugs were made.
Chin has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.