Pharmacist in deadly meningitis outbreak heading to trial


BOSTON — After watching his mother die from meningitis in a nationwide outbreak caused by contaminated steroids, Scott Shaw is determined to make sure something like that never happens again.

A stiff punishment for the Massachusetts pharmacist Shaw believes is partially responsible may help, he says.

“I believe as surely as I’m talking to you right now that if something isn’t done, we will repeat this again,” the North Carolina man said.

Glenn Chin, the supervisory pharmacist at the now-closed New England Compounding Center in Framingham, about 22 miles (35 kilometers) west of Boston, is to go on trial Tuesday for his role in the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 76 people and sickened hundreds of others.

Chin faces up to life in prison if convicted of all counts of second-degree murder under federal racketeering law.

Experts, and Chin’s defense attorney, believe prosecutors have a stronger case against Chin than they did against the co-founder of the compounding pharmacy, Barry Cadden. Cadden was sentenced in June to nine years in prison after being acquitted of second-degree murder charges but convicted on conspiracy and fraud charges.

Chin ran the so-called clean rooms where steroid injections were made. He is accused of failing to properly sterilize the drugs, among other things. Chin also faces conspiracy, mail fraud and other charges.

“I’m just a little concerned that the judge and the jury might be a little more harsh on Glenn Chin because he was doing the work in the clean room,” Chin’s attorney, Stephen Weymouth, said.

Throughout Cadden’s trial, the co-founder’s lawyers tried to push the blame onto Chin. Chin intends to point the finger back at Cadden.

Weymouth said he will argue that Chin was essentially a “puppet” for Cadden, who made working in the clean rooms so difficult that “mistakes might have been made.” Cadden was the one calling the shots and pushing the orders to line his own pockets, Weymouth said.

“I think the government would agree with me that the more culpable of these two parties was actually Barry Cadden,” Weymouth said. Chin “did whatever Cadden told him to do.”

Former prosecutor David Schumacher said that defense will only get Chin so far. Chin was ultimately responsible for making sure the drugs were safe enough to be put into people’s bodies, Schumacher said.

“Glenn Chin has quite a bit of exposure here,” said Schumacher, who was deputy chief of the health care fraud unit in the Massachusetts U.S. attorney’s…



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