By Walter F. Roche Jr.
One of the the 14 people indicted in the aftermath of a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak gave up his pharmacy technician's license after admitting to stealing or diverting antifungal drugs from a former employer.
Records of the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy show that Scott M. Connolly gave up his license in 2008 after getting caught sending 30 fluconazole tablets to an unidentified address in Missouri.
According to those records a contrite Connolly later wrote to the state agency calling his action "an extremely terrible error in judgment."
The drugs, valued at $432.14, are used to treat fungal infections, the same type of infection suffered by the victims of the 2012 outbreak.
According to the 131-count indictment made public last month, Connolly was working as a pharmacy technician for the New England Compounding Center, even though he had no license. The grand jury charged that Connolly used the username and password of his boss, Barry Cadden, to hide his role at NECC.
Prosecutors say that dozens of patients died and hundreds were sickened due to fungus infested sterile drugs shipped from NECC to health providers in more than 20 states.
Connolly was charged with racketeering and conspiracy for his role in one of NECC's clean rooms, the source of some of the contaminated or untested drugs.
Connolly, acting in violation of Massachsuetts' law, oversaw the preparation of a drug called cardioplegia, a drug used to temporarily stop the heart from beating during surgical procedures, the indictment charges. Two pending civil suits charge that NECC's cardioplegia was responsible for the deaths of two youths under treatment at a Las Vegas hospital.
The indictment lists cardioplegia doses shipped to hospitals in nine states, including Nevada, Florida and Massachusetts.
Connolly and the 13 others named in the 73-page indictment have entered not guilty pleas. Those include Cadden, who was a founder of NECC.
The records show a year after surrendering his license, Connolly wrote the panel to plead for reconsideration of his case.
"I know that what I did was wrong and can assure you it will never happen again," he wrote in a 2009 letter.
In the letter he told state regulators he was working for Ameridose, a sister company to NECC. He said he was involved in invoicing but wanted to return to a pharmacist technician's role.
The files indicate that the diversion came to light when the drugs were returned to his then employer, Bioscrip, because there was no one at the address to sign for them and the drugs were sent back to the company. Bioscrip then terminated Connolly and reported him to the state.
The files indicate the Connolly's plea for reconsideration was denied.
According to the indictment, despite the board's turndown, he went to work in the NECC cleanroom as a pharmacy technician.