Suicide attempts. Foreclosures. Chronic health problems. Pain, both emotional and physical, so searing, that some patients regret surviving. And then there are the 76 people whose lives ended mysteriously and in agony when the fungus hidden in the medicine blossomed inside them.
This tableau of death and loss, federal prosecutors write, are among the reasons Barry J. Cadden should spend 35 years in prison for choosing profits over purity while running the New England Compounding Center, the source of the great fungal meningitis outbreak in US history.
“Their eyes now turn toward the criminal justice system [and] if there ever was a fraud case that deserves the greatest punishment allowable, this is it,’’ federal prosecutors wrote in court papers. Cadden’s “choices to deliberately ignore pharmacy regulations showed an unconscionable disregard for the lives of patients using his drugs.’’
Cadden is scheduled to be sentenced Monday in US District Court on numerous conspiracy, fraud, and racketeering charges by Judge Richard G. Stearns, who has rejected a defense request for a new trial or to toss the guilty verdict.
But Cadden’s lawyers in court papers refute Acting US Attorney William Weinreb’s plea for 35 years imprisonment, asserting that prosecutors have deliberately misread the trial’s outcome and are wrongly asking that their client to be sentenced on 25 second degree murder charges – even though the jury did not convict.
“As the jury found, Mr. Cadden is not a murderer,’’ the defense wrote. “None of this is to say that Mr. Cadden is guilt-less. He did things, and particularly failed to do things, that in hindsight he deeply regrets.”
Three years in prison is an appropriate sentence for Cadden, who would become the first compounding pharmacist imprisoned for failures inside their facilities, the defense said.
“The instinct to punish Mr. Cadden harshly is a function of the scope of the outbreak, and the horror associated with it, and less a function of Mr. Cadden’s individual actions,’’ the defense wrote. “The jury appears to have rejected the government’s characterization of Mr. Cadden as callous and greedy. The court should do the same.’’
Cadden is the former head pharmacist and a co-owner of NECC, which produced unsanitary drugs blamed by prosecutors for the deaths of 76 people, the sickening of some 700 more patients in more than 20 states across the country in 2012.
During the trial, Cadden was portrayed by the defense as the chief executive of NECC who delegated responsibility for properly manufacturing the drugs to Glenn A. Chin, the former head pharmacist awaiting trial on similar charges, including the 25 counts of second degree murder.