Monday, September 8, 2014

Pharmacist Charged in Meningitis Outbreak Files Emergency Motion

By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Lawyers for the pharmacist charged in the 2012 fatal fungal meningitis outbreak have filed an emergency motion to force a federal agent to appear at a show cause hearing later this week.
The motion filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Boston seeks an order compelling Food and Drug Administration Special Agent Benedict Celso to appear at the hearing scheduled for Thursday.
It was Celso's affidavit that led to last week's arrest of Glenn A. Chin, 46, the supervising pharmacist for the now defunct New England Compounding Center.
The Framingham, Mass. firm has been blamed by state and federal officials for the fungal meningitis outbreak that sickened more than 750 patients and killed at least 64.
In the motion filed, Paul W. Shaw, one of Chin's lawyers said Celso was "a necessary and material witness" for the hearing.
He wrote that because of the short time frame, they were unable to comply with the usual requirements for issuing a subpoena to an FDA employee.
The motion states that Celso's presence is necessary because of the "various conclusionary assertions made in the affidavit."
In the affidavit made public last week, Celso charged that Chin was personally responsible for overseeing the production of a spinal steroid that was tainted with fungus and led to the deaths and illnesses recorded during the outbreak.
Chin was charged with a single count of mail fraud for his role in the shipping of the drugs and the certification that the drugs met federal purity and sterility standards.
Chin was arrested last week at Boston's Logan International Airport as he was preparing to board a plane for China.

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