Pharmacy tech in NECC meningitis case pleads guilty to mail fraud
A pharmacy technician from the Framingham compounding pharmacy that was the source of a deadly meningitis outbreak has agreed to plead guilty to one count of mail fraud, according to court documents filed Monday.
Scott M. Connolly, who worked at the New England Compounding Center from January 2010 to August 2012, is part of a group of lesser-known defendants in the case.
Prosecutors say the company mislabeled and shipped contaminated, expired, and untested drugs to doctors, clinics, and hospitals across the country.
According to federal prosecutors, Connolly, alongside other defendants named in the NECC case, “devised and intended to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud NECC’s customers and the patients of those customers.”
Despite having surrendered his state license in January 2009 following disciplinary action, Connolly was hired and assigned to Clean Room 2 at NECC, where he made drugs for hospitals to use in heart surgeries, according to court documents.
Connolly, who was listed as a warehouse worker by the company, was supervised by licensed pharmacists Barry Cadden, Glenn Chin, and Gene Svirskiy. Court documents state he used Cadden’s username and password when filling drug orders so as to hide his role at the company. Connolly further concealed his position at the firm by not performing validation tests like other pharmacy technicians who worked in NECC’s clean rooms.
The trials of Cadden, the former co-owner of the company, and Chin, the supervisory pharmacist, made headlines.
Chin began serving an eight-year sentence for racketeering and fraud in April. Cadden was convicted of racketeering and fraud in March 2017 and was sentenced to nine years in prison. Both men were acquitted of second-degree murder charges. The government is seeking almost $74 million from Cadden in restitution for the victims.
Svirskiy and Connolly were among a group of lesser-known defendants set to go to trial in October on mail fraud and racketeering charges.
Lawyers for this group say they were not responsible for the production of a contaminated steroid that caused a devastating fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 64 and infected about 800. Federal prosecutors say the group may not have been responsible for that outbreak, but they used the same unsafe practices to produce and ship other drugs.
Prosecutors have previously described NECC as a “fraudulent criminal enterprise” that produced substandard drugs and marketed them as the safest in the country.