A federal prosecutor on Monday asked a judge to sentence a former Massachusetts pharmacy executive to 35 years in prison for the "devastation" caused by a deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak.
Barry Cadden, the co-founder and former president of the now-defunct New England Compounding Center, was convicted in March of racketeering and fraud for his role in the outbreak but cleared of the harshest charges he faced, second-degree murder.
Assistant U.S. Attorney George Varghese told U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns a severe sentence was necessary given Cadden's conduct and the "overwhelming devastation" he helped inflict on 778 unsuspecting patients nationwide who received contaminated steroids injections.
That includes 76 people who died, prosecutors said.
"Make no mistake about it, what Barry Cadden did was evil, and he should be punished accordingly," Varghese said.
Cadden's lawyers were set to make their own presentation after the judge hears from around 20 victims who are attending the sentencing.
In court filings, they say prosecutors are seeking to demonize Cadden, who they said was not convicted of knowing the drugs were contaminated, just of misrepresenting how they were made. They say Cadden deserved no more than about three years in prison.
Cadden was one of 14 people tied to Framingham, Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center indicted in 2014 following the outbreak. He was one of only two people to face second-degree murder charges.
Prosecutors said Cadden, the compounding center's head pharmacist, ran the company as a criminal enterprise, selling substandard and non-sterile drugs produced in filthy conditions to medical facilities nationwide.
They said Cadden directed the shipment of 17,600 vials of contaminated steroids often prescribed for back pain despite knowing they were made in unsafe conditions, leading to the outbreak.
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