Boston pharmacist acquitted of murder in 2012 meningitis outbreak

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(CNN) — A Boston jury found former supervisory pharmacist Glenn Chin not guilty of murder in the deaths of 25 people during a 2012 meningitis outbreak, but convicted him of other charges.

Chin, who worked at the New England Compounding Center, or NECC, was convicted Wednesday of racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud and false labeling. He was acquitted of second-degree murder.

More than 700 people in 20 states were diagnosed with fungal meningitis and other infections after receiving contaminated medication in 2012. Sixty-four patients in nine states died, making it the deadliest meningitis outbreak in US history.

The deaths were allegedly caused by contaminated vials of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate, a steroid manufactured by the compounding pharmacy.

“Mr. Chin ran NECC’s clean room operations with depraved disregard for human lives,” said acting US Attorney William D. Weinreb in a statement. “As a licensed pharmacist, Mr. Chin took an oath to protect patients, but instead deliberately violated safety regulations, causing the largest public health crisis caused by a pharmaceutical drug in US history.”

According to the statement from the US Attorney’s Office, Chin manufactured the three lots of the contaminated MPA, which comprised more than 17,000 vials of medication.

Chin’s attorney, Stephen Weymouth, told CNN affiliate WFXT, “He’s remorseful for what happened. He doesn’t feel personally responsible because he didn’t commit murder, but clearly he was involved in something that caused a tremendous public health outbreak across the United States and feels terribly remorseful for the people who died, for their families and the people who were injured.”

Chin, 49, faces a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000 and restitution, prosecutors said. He is scheduled to be sentenced on January 30.

In June, Barry Cadden, owner and head pharmacist of NECC, was sentenced to nine years behind bars and three years of supervised release for his role in the outbreak. Cadden had been charged with 25 counts of second-degree murder and was acquitted in those cases. But he was convicted of racketeering, mail fraud and other charges.

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