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NECC Owner Barry Cadden, Responsible for Deadly 2012 Nationwide Fungal Meningitis Outbreak, Pleads to 11 Counts of Manslaughter

LANSING Yesterday, in the 44th Circuit Court in Livingston County, Barry Cadden, former owner of New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Massachusetts, pled no contest to 11 counts of involuntary manslaughter for his actions leading to the 2012 deaths of 11 Michigan residents, announced Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. The plea accompanies a sentencing agreement of 10-15 years’ incarceration. 

In 2012, a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak resulted in 64 deaths, 11 the result of injection treatments at the Michigan Pain Specialists Clinic (MPS) in Livingston County. Patients at the clinic were given epidural injections of the steroid methylprednisolone, which was compounded and produced at Cadden’s NECC in Massachusetts and shipped to MPS. Donna Kruzich, Paula Brent, Lyn Laperriere, Mary Plettl, Gayle Gipson, Patricia Malafouris, Emma Todd, Jennie Barth, Ruth Madouse, Salley Roe, and Karina Baxter died as a result of being injected with the contaminated drug.   

“Cadden ran his pharmaceutical lab with a shocking and abhorrent disregard for basic safety rules and practices, and in doing so he tragically killed eleven Michigan patients,” said Nessel. “Wherever you are in this country, if your greed harms and kills Michigan residents, my office will make every effort to enforce the fullest extent of the law. Patients must be able to trust their medications are safe, and doctors must be assured they aren’t administering deadly poison. My office has worked closely with the families of these victims, and we’ve ensured that this plea fits their desire for closure and justice.” 

Cadden disregarded sterility procedures in the compounding of sterile medications and ran his business in an egregiously unsafe manner, endorsing laboratory directives wherein cleaning records and scientific testing results were regularly forged and fabricated. The Department of Attorney General began investigative action against Cadden in 2013 and charged him with 11 counts of Second-Degree Murder in 2018. In 2017, he was found guilty in a federal court of 57 criminal charges, and would eventually be sentenced to 14.5 years’ incarceration. The sentencing to follow yesterday’s pleas of no contest will be served concurrently to the federal sentence.  

Though investigative efforts of the Department of Attorney General began in 2013 and a Michigan grand jury was seated in June of that year, then-Attorney General Bill Schuette acquiesced to a request from federal prosecutors to freeze the state case until the eventual federal trial was resolved. U.S. Attorneys for the District of Massachusetts indicted Cadden in December of 2014 following their own grand jury proceedings, and the 9-week trial did not begin until 2017.   

In 2015, a $200 million dollar settlement agreement was reached between NECC and several affiliated companies, and the victims and their families nationwide. $10.5 million was designated for Michigan victims or their families. 

The Michigan grand jury process was allowed to resume in 2018 after the conclusion of the federal trial. The grand jury was not reconvened, however, and in December of that year 11 charges of Second-Degree Murder were filed against Barry Cadden. Preliminary examination in the matter began in late 2019 and concluded in December 2020, with Cadden bound over to stand trial. This result was appealed by Cadden all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court, which remanded the case back to the 44th Circuit Court in Livingston County, upholding the original ruling to bind the matter over for trial, in April of 2022. Since then, for 22 months, the parties have appeared before the Court to file and argue motions shaping a future jury trial.  

A majority of families representing the 11 victims expressed support to the Department of Attorney General for resolving these criminal charges with a plea deal. Surviving parents, spouses, and adult children of the deceased victims told victim advocates with the department they hoped to find solace in resolution, anticipation for the matter to finally be concluded, and that the sentencing agreement was acceptable to their want for justice. 

Sentencing for Barry Cadden is scheduled for April 18th, 2024 at 8:30 a.m. in the 44th Circuit Court before Judge Michael P. Hatty.


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