The former supervisory pharmacist convicted over with a deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 76 people and sickened hundreds has been jailed for eight years.
Glenn Chin, 49, co-founder of the now-defunct New England Compounding Center (NECC), was cleared of second-degree murder charges in October, but found guilty of dozens of other charges, including mail fraud, conspiracy, racketeering and introduction of misbranded drugs into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud and mislead.
In addition to incarceration, Chin will also face two years of supervised release, and forfeiture and restitution in an amount to be determined later.
Chin, who ran the so-called clean rooms at NECC where drugs that were found to be contaminated were made, tearfully apologized to the victims for the pain and suffering they endured, during his sentencing.
The outbreak was traced to mold-contaminated steroid injections, produced by the company.
Glenn Chin, 49, the former supervisory pharmacist convicted in connection with a deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak that killed 76 people and sickened hundreds, was sentenced to 8 years in prison on Wednesday
During his sentencing hearing on Wednesday, the Canton, Massachusetts man said he has prayed every day for the people who were impacted by the outbreak.
While sobbing and struggling through his statement, Chin said he understands that many of the victims will never forgive him, but that he will continue to pray that they will ‘find some sort of peace.’
The 2012 outbreak led Congress in 2013 to pass a law that aimed to clarify the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ability to oversee large compounding pharmacies that make custom drugs.
Attorneys for Chin (left) said blame instead rested with NECC co-founder Barry Cadden (right), who they said made all of the decisions at NECC and trained Chin on how to produce drugs in the ways that prosecutors contend were unsafe
In addition to incarceration, Chin will also face two years of supervised release, and forfeiture and restitution in an amount to be determined later; Chin is seen here entering the federal court in Boston, Massachusetts on September 19
‘A key aspect of the FDA’s mission is to ensure that drugs are made under high quality conditions so that no patient is at risk of harm due to poorly compounded products,’ said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD.
‘In response to episodes where patients were harmed by poorly compounded drugs, Congress passed a new set of laws to improve the FDA’s oversight of these products. We’re committed to the efficient, timely and robust implementation of that framework to help make sure patients can trust the reliability and safety of compounded drugs, recognize the benefits of pharmacy compounding, and that we protect consumers from harm.’
Chin was initially charged with the deaths of 25 people in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, before a jury found him not guilty of murder.
Chin was the co-founder of the now-defunct New England Compounding Center (NECC)
Chin was cleared of second-degree murder charges in October, but found guilty of dozens of other charges, including mail fraud, conspiracy, racketeering and introduction of misbranded drugs into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud and mislead
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put the preliminary death toll from the outbreak at 64 in 2013. Federal officials identified additional victims in their investigation, raising the number of deaths to 76.
More than 700 people in 20 states were sickened in what’s considered the worst public health crisis in recent U.S. history.
Prosecutors, at the time of Chin’s trial, said that Chin directed staff in NECC’s clean rooms to skip cleaning despite the presence of insects, mice and mold.
They claimed Chin disregarded the probability that people could die if he failed to ensure drugs were produced in sanitary conditions and were properly sterilized in order to keep up with demand from hospitals nationally for its medicines.
His lawyers countered that Chin never meant for anyone to die.
They said blame instead rested with Cadden, who they said made all of the decisions at NECC and trained Chin on how to produce drugs in the ways that prosecutors contend were unsafe.
The outbreak was traced to mold-contaminated steroid injections, produced at NECC
Lesser charges were filed against 12 other people associated with NECC. Three have pleaded guilty.
A federal judge dismissed charges against two defendants in 2016.
Prosecutors in Boston’s federal court asked for Chin to receive a sentence of 35 years in custody for his role in the tragedy.
‘Mr Chin was a pharmacist, but again and again he acted with complete disregard for the health and safety of patients,’ said United States Attorney Andrew E Lelling.
‘Mr Chin will now be held responsible for producing contaminated drugs that killed dozens and grievously harmed over 750 people across the country. No patient should suffer harm at the hands of a medical professional, and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to combat fraud and abuse in the health care system.’
Chin’s 8-year sentence was handed down by US District Court Judge for the District of Massachusetts, the Honorable Richard G Stearns.
NECC co-founder Barry Cadden is seen here , in Boston, Massachusetts on June 26 walking to his car after being sentenced to nine years in jail, beginning in August, for his role in a deadly US meningitis outbreak in 2012
‘As a licensed pharmacist, Glenn Chin took an oath to protect his patients,’ said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Boston Division.
‘In contrast, he failed miserably by cutting corners, ignoring warning signs, and harming hundreds of people with his reckless disregard for their safety. Dozens of unsuspecting patients died because of the tainted drugs that were distributed on his watch. Now, Mr Chin is finally being held accountable for his role in one of the worst pharmaceutical disasters in this country. The FBI hopes today’s sentence will bring some comfort to the hundreds of victims and their families who have suffered so much.’
Chin’s attorneys had unsuccessfully argued that his sentence should be just three years.
They said there was no evidence Chin caused the drugs to become contaminated and have blamed the deaths and illnesses on NECC’s co-founder, Barry Cadden.
Cadden is currently serving a nine-year prison sentence, having been found guilty of racketeering and fraud, but also cleared him of murder.
Lesser charges were filed against 12 other people associated with NECC; Three of the 12 have pleaded guilty and a federal judge dismissed charges against two of the 12 defendants in 2016