Pharmacist Sentenced to Prison

Feb 02, 2018
By Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

Glenn Chin, the former supervisory pharmacist of the New England Compounding Center (NECC), was sentenced on Jan. 31, 2018 for his role in the 2012 nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak traced to contaminated steroids made at the center.

In October 2017, Glenn Chin was convicted by a federal jury in Boston of 77 counts, including racketeering, racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, and introduction of misbranded drugs into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud and mislead. The sentence imposed by the US District Court in Boston included eight years in prison, two years of supervised release, and forfeiture and restitution in an amount to be determined later.

In 2012, 753 patients in 20 states were diagnosed with a fungal infection after receiving injections of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (MPA) manufactured by NECC; the number of patients affected was later raised to 793. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 64 patients in nine states died, FDA reports.

According to an announcement from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) District of Massachusetts on the sentencing, Chin ignored NECC’s own drug formulation worksheets and standard operating procedures when he manufactured three lots of contaminated MPA, which comprised more than 17,000 vials of medication.

DOJ noted that Chin improperly sterilized the MPA, failed to verify the sterilization process, and improperly tested it to ensure sterility. Despite knowing these deficiencies, Chin directed the MPA to be filled into vials and shipped to NECC customers nationwide prior to confirmation of sterility and directed NECC staff to mislabel drugs to conceal this practice.

The announcement also noted that Chin directed the compounding of drugs with expired ingredients, prioritized drug production over cleaning, directed the forging of cleaning logs, and routinely ignored mold and bacteria found inside cleanrooms. In addition, Chin and co-conspirators used a pharmacy technician whose license had been revoked by the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy and took steps to conceal the technician’s presence from state regulators.

Source: US Department of Justice


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