Pharmacy tied to meningitis outbreak ‘greedy’ and ‘sloppy’

A tainted steroid injection produced by the New England Compounding Center, as seen in a video aired on "60 Minutes." (Photo courtesy CBS News)
A tainted steroid injection produced by the New England Compounding Center, as seen in a video aired on “60 Minutes.” (Photo courtesy CBS News)

Two former employees of the New England Compounding Center, the Framingham compounding pharmacy linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak, are speaking up.

Lab technician Joe Connolly told CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday that the NECC was more concerned with making money than the safety of its medications.

“The underlying factor is that the company got greedy and overextended and we got sloppy, and something happened,” Connolly said.

48 people died and more than 700 developed fungal meningitis after receiving tainted steroid injections manufactured by NECC. The company recalled all products and closed down in September 2012 when the outbreak was first detected. Several company officials could face criminal charges.

Compounding pharmacies and their medications are not subject to FDA approval because each prescription is supposed to be made for an individual patient. However, Connolly and an unidentified salesman say NECC was manufacturing medications on a wide scale.

The salesman, who asked not to be identified, told the news program that about 3,000 hospitals and clinics ordered drugs. He alleged that NECC knew fraud was occurring, because orders were placed using fake patient names.

“Bart Simpson, Homer Simpson… those ones did raise red flags, and we [were] told to call our client back, and say, ‘Hey, give us different names,’” the salesman said. “The follow-up names would be like a John Doe, Jane Doe, Bill Doe, you know, Jane Smith, Bill Smith, et cetera.”

The salesman said Barry Cadden, NECC’s owner and president, didn’t allow state inspectors to have access to the sales team, in order to conceal the scope of the business.

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy has oversight over compounding pharmacies. Despite prior complaints about sterility, the NECC passed inspection in 2011.

Cadden invoked the Fifth Amendment when subpoenaed to testify before Congress and did not participate in the “60 Minutes” interview. His lawyer told the program that Cadden doesn’t know how the steroids were contaminated.

Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBos



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…