Pharmacy head gets 9 years for deadly outbreak


Terri Rethlake still gets upset almost five years after she was sickened to near death from a tainted spinal injection that was the tip of a deadly nationwide meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people and sickened hundreds more.

Cadden was acquitted of second-degree murder under federal racketeering law in March, but he was convicted of conspiracy and fraud.

Prosecutors had asked U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns in Boston to sentence Cadden, 50, to 35 years in prison, saying he directed the production of drugs in unsanitary and risky ways to boost the compounding pharmacy's profits. It added that Cadden's facility did not comply with cleaning, sterilization and other safety regulations - and that many who worked there, from its owners to pharmacists, actively lied about it.

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During Cadden's trial, prosecutors said he shipped out drugs knowing there were unsanitary conditions in the room where the drugs were made.

Singal also contends that prosecutors are misreading federal law, fail to properly understand the finances of NECC and of the Caddens, and are asking for an excessive financial punishment. That includes 76 people who died, they said.

Cadden denied wrongdoing. His lawyers said he never meant to sell contaminated drugs. They say Cadden, 50, deserves around only three years in prison.

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Penny Laperriere, whose husband died after receiving a contaminated steroid shot, said Cadden destroyed her family. Indiana, Michigan and Tennessee were hit the hardest.

The outbreak of fungal meningitis and other infections in 20 states was traced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to contaminated injections of medical steroids, given mostly to people with back pain.

Cadden, right, is the co-founder and former president of the now-defunct New England Compounding Center.

Victims told stories of shattered lives and unbearable loss caused by the tainted steroids made by Cadden's company.

"Who gave him the right to play God?" the MI woman said. Mr. Cadden had been convicted this spring on federal racketeering and fraud charges related to the outbreak, which experts have described as among the worst medicine-related public health crises in recent times.

The former head of a pharmaceutical company in Framingham faces his sentencing Monday for his connection to the deadly meningitis outbreak in 2012. The jurors seemed to write that majority had wanted to convict Mr. Cadden on numerous murder charges and some had wanted acquit him - suggesting that they fell short of the unanimous agreement required of a jury's decision.

The sentence was far less than more than a dozen victims asked for while making emotional victim impact statements to U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns.