Friday, February 3, 2017
NECC Shipped Long Expired Cancer Drug
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
BOSTON, Mass.-Federal prosecutors presented evidence today indicating a now defunct Massachusetts drug compounding firm shipped a cancer treatment drug to an Illinois hospital even though the drug's main ingredient had expired five years earlier.
Kandie Dino, the pharmacy manager at the Decatur Hospital said she ordered the methotrexate on Feb. 7, 2012 from the New England Compounding Center and it was delivered five days later.
She was shown a large jar of methotraxate that had been seized from NECC's Framingham, Mass. offices in 2012.
Her testimony came in the trial of NECC's one time president Barry J. Cadden, who has been charged with racketeering and second degree murder.
Dino said that when she contacted the NECC sales representative to order the drug, "he told me I needed to talk to Barry Cadden."
She said she complied and contacted Cadden to make the request.
Reading from the jar seized from NECC, she said the expiration date was in 2007, but when the drug was delivered to her hospital the methotrexate had an August 2012 expiration date.
"We received the product," she said under questioning from Assistant U.S. Attorney George Varghese.
Asked if she would have accepted the drug if she had known about the expiration date, Dino said, "Expiration dates are very important."
She said that depending on their ingredients expired drugs could be either stronger or weaker than originally indicated. If you open a bottle of aspirin and get a vinegar smell, it means the aspirin has begun to decompose and is no longer its original strength, she said.
"Expired products are not to be used," she said, adding that there was nothing you could do to an expired drug to make it right again.
She said the hospital paid $1,750 for multiple vials of the drug plus a $20 shipping fee. She said the 300-bed hospital had been purchasing drugs from NECC for several years.
A patient needed the drug to continue chemotherapy and the hospital's supply was running out, she said.
Also testifying was Kiumarce Kashi, a Baltimore, Md. physician whose father was injected with a fungus tainted NECC steroid in 2012.
He said his father got the injection at an Abingdon, Md. clinic while he was visiting from his home in California.
He said his father became ill soon after his return to Sacramento, Calif. He rushed to his bedside at a local hospital and convinced the doctor treating his father to do a lumbar puncture. The test showed evidence of fungal meningitis.
He said he had his father transferred to a larger hospital,and while he rallied briefly, he was soon in a trance like state and died on Jan. 20, 2013.
The session ended early after a juror became ill and the judge called a recess until Monday morning.