New England Compounding Center Meningitis Outbreak

What was the event?

In September of 2012, a mysterious outbreak of fungal meningitis and other infections occurred in multiple states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with state and local officials, quickly began investigating. The outbreak was ultimately traced back to the New England Compounding Center (NECC).

The outbreak was caused by steroid injections that were contaminated with mold. The contaminated injections sickened over 800 individuals and killed 76 – the worst outbreak of meningitis in U.S. history.

What is the crime?

The NECC was classified as a compounding pharmacy. Such pharmacies are authorized to combine, mix, or alter ingredients to create specific formulations of drugs to meet the specific needs of individual patients, and only in response to individual prescriptions.

In October 2012, an investigation of the NECC revealed the company had been in violation of its state license because it had been functioning as a drug manufacturer, producing drugs for broad use rather than filling individual prescriptions.

In December of 2012, federal prosecutors charged 14 former NECC employees, including president Barry Cadden and pharmacist Glenn Chin, with a host of criminal offenses. It alleged that from 2006 to 2012, NECC knowingly sent out drugs that were mislabeled and unsanitary or contaminated.

The incident resulted in numerous lawsuits against NECC. In May 2015, a $200 million settlement plan was approved that set aside funds for victims of the outbreak and their families.

Are you a victim?

The contaminated injections manufactured and distributed by the NEEC sickened over 800 individuals and killed 76. If you believe you may have received a contaminated injection, you may be eligible for crime victim resources. The NEEC meningitis outbreak is not the only occurrence of sickness and/or death from accidental or intentional poisoning of consumer products. If you or someone you know has become ill from the use of a medication or household product, and criminal charges have been filed in relation, you may be eligible for resources.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Resources on Meningitis

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State of Massachusetts

Massachusetts NEEC Program

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State of Massachusetts

The Attorney General's Office Mass. NECC Program

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NECC National Compensation Program

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Tools and Training

National Mass Violence and Victimization Resource Center

Resources for Victims of Crime

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National Mass Violence and Victimization Resource Center

Self-Help Tools

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