Massachusetts pharmacy owner guilty in tainted drug plot linked to deadly meningitis outbreak

Megan Knowles - Print  | 

A jury convicted a co-owner and four ex-employees of a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy of committing fraud and other illegal activities that boosted its business before a 2012 meningitis outbreak associated with the facility's drugs, according to Reuters.

The Dec. 13 verdict came in the latest criminal trial involving former executives and employees of New England Compounding Center, which created mold-tainted steroids that prosecutors said sickened 793 people in 20 states and killed over 100.

Among the six convicted was pharmacist Gene Svirskiy, who was found guilty of racketeering, and pharmacist Christopher Leary, who was found guilty of mail fraud. Mr. Svirskiy and Mr. Leary played a role in misleading their company's hospital customers about the quality of its drugs, prosecutors said.

Additionally, pharmacy co-owner Gregory Conigliaro and Sharon Carter, its former director of operations, were found guilty of conspiring to trick the FDA into thinking their company was a compounding pharmacy that should be state regulated.

Before the outbreak, hospitals were misled about the quality of drugs the pharmacy sold them, which were often produced in unsanitary conditions, made with expired ingredients and shipped without proper testing, prosecutors said.

Pharmacist Alla Stepanets was convicted on misdemeanor charges of processing prescriptions using fake patient names. Jurors acquitted a sixth defendant, pharmacist Joseph Evanosky, of racketeering and mail fraud. 

Lawyers for the other defendants either did not comment or could not be reached for comment, according to Reuters. The defendants will be sentenced in March.

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