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Pharmacy exec gets 9yr prison sentence over 2012 meningitis outbreak

Pharmacy exec gets 9yr prison sentence over 2012 meningitis outbreak
A former Massachusetts pharmacy executive has been found responsible for mixing the drugs that caused the deadly meningitis outbreak and has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Barry Cadden, the co-founder and former president of the now-closed New England Compounding Center, was sentenced to nine years in prison on Monday after being convicted for his role in a deadly nationwide meningitis outbreak in 2012, which killed 76 people and sickened more than 700. 

In 2012, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) traced the outbreak of meningitis to contaminated injections of medical steroids coming from the facility Cadden was running. The compounding pharmacy mixed drugs for patients seeking pain relief, which were shipped to medical facilities across the nation.

A federal investigation of the facility Cadden ran found the surfaces of the rooms where the drugs were made contained mold and bacteria, and the majority of the steroid drug vials they tested contained microbial growth.

In March, Cadden was acquitted of 25 second-degree murder charges, but was found guilty of racketeering, conspiracy and fraud.

During the trial, prosecutors urged the judge to give Cadden the maximum sentence of 35 years for running the company in an "extraordinarily dangerous" way. They accused him of skirting industry regulations on cleanliness and sterilization to boost production and profits.

"Make no mistake about it — what Barry Cadden did was evil, and he should be punished accordingly," said Assistant US Attorney George Varghese, according to ABC News.

Cadden apologized to the victims who fell ill or lost loved ones in court on Monday.

"I am so sorry for your extraordinary losses," Barry Cadden said, according to NBC News. "I am sorry for the whole range of suffering that resulted from my company's drugs."

Cadden has been ordered to report to prison by August 7. Until then he will remain free on bond.