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

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

National

Cleavage complaint: Disneyland staffer orders curvy mom to…

A curvy mom-of-three says she filed a formal complaint after staff at Disneyland Resort in California ordered her to cover up her boobs. Melissa Behnken,…

Local

Supporters say man accused of robbery was misidentified

A Liberian immigrant couple charged with extorting money from an elderly woman in March will be in court Thursday for a bail hearing, but supporters say it's a case of…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

NHL

Top 5 Philadelphia storylines for Flyers-Rangers

The slate is clean for the Flyers and the Rangers. Which is good news for the Flyers.

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.