Saturday, October 8, 2016
Another NECC Defendant Cleared of Some Charges
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Another defendant in the criminal case stemming from a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak has been cleared of some charges but she still faces an April trial on conspiracy charges.
U.S. District Judge Richard J. Stearns dismissed seven counts against Alla Stephanets of Framingham, Mass., a pharmacist who worked for the now defunct New England Compounding Center, the company blamed for the 2012 deadly outbreak.
In a brief ruling Stearns said the charges were being dismissed for the same reason he dismissed the charges against two other defendants earlier this week. He concluded that the jobs performed by Kathy Chin and Michelle Thomas, did not meet the definition of dispensing controlled substances under federal law.
All three employees were assigned to match drugs produced by NECC with patients' names prior to shipping.
Stearns noted in his brief ruling that he previously denied a motion by Stepanets to dismiss conspiracy to defraud the federal government charges which remain against her. Stepanets and seven other defendants are scheduled to go on trial on April 10 of next year.
Two other defendants, Barry Cadden and Glenn Chin, are scheduled for a Jan. 5 trial. They face 25 counts each of second degree murder, among other charges.
Kathy Chin is the wife of Glenn Chin, who was a supervising pharmacist for NECC. Cadden was chief pharmacist and part owner of the Framingham, Mass. drug compounding firm.
Two other defendants, Carla and Douglas Conigliaro, already have entered guilty pleas to vastly reduced charges and are scheduled for a Nov. 9 sentencing hearing.
NECC shipped fungus ridden steroids to health providers across the country triggering an outbreak that sickened 778 patients, killing 77 of them.