Barry J. Cadden, former co-owner and president of the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., was acquitted of murder in federal court today.
Cadden was facing 25 counts of second-degree murder due to a nationwide meningitis outbreak in 2012, which was blamed on contaminated vials of medication manufactured by the NECC. In total, the outbreak killed 64 people and sickened over 700 others. The jury heard nine weeks of testimony and then deliberated for five days before presenting their verdict this morning.
Prosecutors blamed lax business practices and unsanitary cleanroom conditions for the contaminated drugs. Witnesses testified in court that drugs were sent out without being inspected, employees engaged in horseplay in the cleanroom, proper autoclave procedures were not followed, and puddles of water were present on the cleanroom floor. The prosecution argued that Cadden ignored the warning signs in favor of getting the shipments out and making profit; meanwhile, the defense countered that there was no proof that Cadden acted intentionally to hurt people.
Glenn Chin, former supervisory pharmacist at NECC, is now awaiting his own trial for similar charges. Cadden’s attorney has pointed the finger at Chin as being responsible for the unsatisfactory conditions, as he was the one in charge of the NECC cleanroom.