2 tied to meningitis outbreak to stand trial in Michigan deaths, Nessel says

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Two former associates at an East Coast facility tied to a deadly national meningitis outbreak in 2012 are facing a trial in Michigan for the deaths of 11 Livingston County residents from contaminated injections, the Attorney General's Office announced Thursday.

During a preliminary examination Wednesday, 53rd District Court Judge Shauna Murphy determined there was sufficient evidence to send Barry Cadden, and Glenn Chin, both of Massachusetts, to stand trial on 11 counts of second-degree murder, state officials said. Attorney General Dana Nessel's office described Cadden as the president and Chin as the chief pharmacist.

In this Sept. 19, 2017, file photo, Glenn Chin, supervisory pharmacist at the now-closed New England Compounding Center, leaves federal court after attending the first day of his trial in Boston.

The hearing in Livingston County had 16 witnesses, including former employees of the now-defunct New England Compounding Center, which Cadden co-owned, and where Chin worked as a pharmacist, according to the Associated Press,.

Nearly 800 nationwide were sickened in the fungal meningitis outbreak caused by mold-tainted steroid injections produced by the facility, and federal prosecutors said more than 100 people have died, the Associated Press reported.

Michigan led the nation with at least 264 cases of fungal meningitis and 19 deaths connected to the injections.

Evidence presented Wednesday showed 11 Livingston County victims received epidural injections of the steroid methylprednisolone, which was compounded at the center, in Massachusetts. "The steroid was contaminated and resulted in each victim being injected with fungal meningitis, which led to their deaths," state officials said.

Prosecutors from Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office argued Cadden and Chin disregarded sterility procedures "and engaged in the creation of fraudulent cleaning records and falsified scientific testing results," representatives reported.

“Putting profits ahead of concern for patient safety can have disastrous and tragic results,” said Nessel. “We look forward to the next step in the pursuit of justice for these victims and their families.”

A court date in Michigan has not yet been set.

Cadden, 53, and Chin, 52, both are serving prison sentences in Pennsylvania for federal convictions, Nessel's office said. They were both cleared of second-degree murder, the AP reported.

Barry Cadden arrives at the federal courthouse, March 16, 2017, in Boston, before scheduled closing arguments in his trial. Cadden, a former pharmacy executive and the president of New England Compounding Center, is charged with causing the deaths in 2012 of 25 people who received tainted steroids manufactured by the pharmacy.

Chin, a supervisory pharmacist who ran the clean rooms where drugs were made, had been charged with the deaths of 25 people in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, the AP reported.

He was convicted of racketeering and mail fraud and sentenced in 2018 to eight years in prison. 

Cadden was convicted on conspiracy and fraud charges and sentenced in 2017 to nine years in prison.

More than a dozen people have been charged following an investigation of the outbreak.

Last year, a federal judge overturned the jury convictions of a former owner and employee.

NECC filed for bankruptcy after hundreds of lawsuits. It and several related companies reached a $200 million settlement with victims and their families.