Feds Arrest Owners, Operators of New England Compounding Company

The now-closed Framingham facility is blamed for distributing drugs that led to the deaths of dozens of people across the country in 2012.

Image via Associated Press

Image via Associated Press

Federal officials arrested the founders of a medical compounding facility in Framingham tied to the distribution of contaminated prescription drugs responsible for the deaths of 64 people and a meningitis outbreak across the country in 2012.

The FBI arrested Barry J. Cadden, owner and director of the New England Compounding Center, and Greg Conigliaro, the company’s vice president and secretary, along with 12 others on Wednesday morning. Among those arrested were both pharmacists and pharmacist technicians, licensed by the state, who worked for NECC before it was closed down two years ago.

According to a 73-page indictment filed in federal court, Cadden and four others are facing racketeering charges for their involvement in allowing the distribution of drugs with expired ingredients that were compounded at the company’s headquarters.

“To conceal the use of the expired ingredients from regulators, defendants completed, caused others to complete, and approved the completion of written documentation with fictitious expiration dates,” according to court documents made public shortly after the arrests.

Prosecutors claim that Cadden and a second defendant, Glenn Chin, a pharmacist from NECC, created a bad batch of medicine and then enlisted the help of Medical Sales Management Inc. to advertise and market the drugs to hospitals across the country. They are being charged with “racketeering” under the Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organizations law, which states that the partnership with MSM Inc. is considered a criminal “enterprise.”

“The enterprise constituted an ongoing organization whose members functioned as a continuing unit for a common purpose of achieving the objectives of the enterprise, which was to obtain money and property, including through the means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises,” according to court documents.

Cadden and Chin are both facing second-degree murder charges for allegedly killing more than two-dozen people who “died as a result of receiving injections” of the tainted drugs handled in Framingham.

“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. “With the indictment and these arrests, the Department of Justice is taking decisive action to hold these individuals accountable for their alleged participation in grievous wrongdoing. Actions like the ones alleged in this case display not only a reckless disregard for health and safety regulations, but also an extreme and appalling indifference to human life.”

Other defendants are facing charges of mail fraud, contempt, structuring, and aiding and abetting, according to the court documents. Those arrested are scheduled to appear in court Wednesday, according to officials.

Federal officials said the company and its employees violated chapter 797 of the United States Pharmacopeia, which states that compounding personnel handling prescription drugs need to follow rigorous protocol to ensure all compounded materials are properly sterilized, and prohibits the use of an ingredient of a specific drug beyond its expiration date.

The facility ceased operations in 2012 after investigators tied the deaths of patients to injectable steroids made and distributed by NECC.

The full 73-page indictment can be read below:

Indictment Signed Final