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Pharmacy owners took in $16 million despite fungal meningitis outbreak

The four primary owners of the pharmacy linked to a deadly U.S. meningitis outbreak that has killed 44 people received at least $16 million in salaries and shareholder distributions in 2012, according to papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

New England Compounding Center owner Carla Conigliaro, the largest shareholder in the privately held company, received nearly $9 million in 2012, according to court papers filed late on Friday.

NECC also paid about $18,000 on her American Express card for purchases from gas stations, restaurants, the Apple Store and other places.

Barry Cadden, NECC's chief pharmacist, received about $3.2 million in 2012, filings show. His wife, Lisa Cadden, received about $2.8 million. Greg Conigliaro, a recycling entrepreneur who is Lisa Cadden's brother, received about $1.6 million.

The filings also showed that Framingham, Massachusetts-based NECC had made lease payments for a 2012 BMW X5 and 2011 Mercedes Benz GL-550. NECC paid, for example, $1,251 a month for Carla Conigliaro's Mercedes Benz lease payment, court papers show.

Brown Rudnick LLP, which is representing the official committee of unsecured creditors in NECC's bankruptcy, said NECC had paid more than $21 million to the pharmacy's four primary owners and other insiders.

Medical Sales Management, which shares some common ownership with NECC, received more than $4 million from NECC in 2012, court papers show.

A spokesman for NECC did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

NECC filed for bankruptcy protection last month after U.S. authorities shut down its pharmacy operations amid a meningitis outbreak that has killed 44 people and sickened 678 others, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

NECC shipped thousands of vials of a fungus-tainted steroid to medical facilities throughout the United States, according to authorities.

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