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In fungal meningitis case, $18 million seized from pharmacy owners


Federal agents seized roughly $18 million from three of the owners of the Massachusetts pharmacy responsible for the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak.

Right now, it’s still unclear whether that money will actually wind up in a proposed $135 million victim compensation fund.

Twenty-three of the 64 people killed nationwide in the outbreak were from Michigan.

They were injected with contaminated back pain injections produced by the New England Compounding Center.

Fourteen of the owners and employees have been charged with crimes related to the outbreak.

Federal law enforcement alleges the pharmacy knew it was making and distributing contaminated drugs, but tried to cover it up by fudging cleaning logs and telling their customers the facility was up to standards.

The $18 million seized came from three people: Douglas and Carla Conigliaro (Carla Conigliaro was a majority shareholder of the NECC, which closed after filing for bankruptcy following the outbreak), and Barry Caden, a co-owner and head pharmacist at the NECC.

The Conigliaros allegedly transferred money from their main accounts in the wake of the outbreak, even after a federal judge had instructed them not to move their money.  

Some 3,500 victims and families have reportedly sued the NECC in bankruptcy court, and a federal judge will soon rule on a proposal to create a $135 million fund that would be divided among the victims. 

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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