Pharmacy boss blamed for meningitis outbreak gets 9 years

The co-owner of a pharmacy responsible for the deaths of 76 people was sentenced Monday to nine years in prison after he tearfully apologized to victims who described watching their loved ones die or enduring excruciating physical pain from a 2012 nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak caused by contaminated steroids.

“I am so sorry for your extraordinary losses,” Barry Cadden said, wiping his eyes. “I am sorry for the whole range of suffering that resulted from my company’s drugs.”

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. Many asked the judge to send the 50-year-old Cadden to prison for the rest of his life.

“His actions have caused my life to be shattered and my family so much pain,” said Rachelle Shuff, of Elkhart, Indiana, who received steroid shots for back pain while trying to recover from serious injuries she received in a car accident.

Shuff said she nearly died after contracting meningitis from the contaminated steroids five years ago. Since then, she continues to suffer from severe, chronic pain and an assortment of other symptoms, including vomiting, nosebleeds, frequent falls and memory loss.

“I will die imprisoned in my body,” she said.

During trial, prosecutors said Cadden, the co-owner and president of the now-closed New England Compounding Center in Framingham, ran the company in an “extraordinarily dangerous” way, sending out the steroids when he knew there was mold present in the room where the steroids were made and skirting industry standards on cleanliness and sterility to step up production and make more profit.

“Make no mistake about it — what Barry Cadden did was evil, and he should be punished accordingly,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney George Varghese, urging the judge to sentence Cadden to 35 years in prison.

Cadden’s lawyer, Bruce Singal, asked for a three-year sentence and said prosecutors were trying to punish…

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