Massachusetts Pharmacist Arrested in Deadly Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

An ex-employee of a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy that allegedly infected hundreds of people — killing 64 of them — with a bad batch of medicine was arrested Thursday trying to leave the country, authorities said. Glenn Chin, 46, was “attempting to board a plane to Hong Kong” when federal authorities seized him at Logan Airport in Boston, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The Massachusetts man is expected to appear in federal court Thursday afternoon to face one count of mail fraud.

Chin is a former supervising pharmacist at the New England Compounding Center, and according to the federal complaint, was responsible in 2012 for labeling the batch of methylprednisolone acetate, or MPA, as injectionable. He allegedly failed to have the medications properly sterilized and instructed staff to mislabel the drugs as being clean. The product, however, was tainted and sent to a New England Compounding Center customer — the Michigan Pain Specialists — who in turn injected it into their patients, federal officials say. At that clinic, 217 patients contracted fungal meningitis from the medicine, which killed 15 people. In total, 751 people were infected, with 64 succumbing to the outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



— Tom Winter