14 charged in deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak

(Graphic: WKRN)

In the biggest criminal case ever brought in the United States over contaminated medicine, 14 former owners or employees of a Massachusetts pharmacy were charged Wednesday in connection to the 2012 meningitis outbreak that left 64 people dead.

The tainted drug injections that caused the outbreak were traced back to the now-closed New England Compounding Pharmacy.

Meningitis
Tainted drug injections for meningitis

Barry Cadden, a co-founder of the business, and Glenn Adam Chin, a pharmacist who was in charge of the sterile room, were hot with the most serious charges.

Both are accused of causing the deaths of 25 patients in seven states by “acting in wanton and willful disregard of the likelihood” of death or great bodily harm, the Associated Press reported.

More than 750 people in 20 states were sickened, and 64 of them died.

A Brentwood man’s wife was one of those victims. Diana Reed was among the first victims of fungal meningitis after receiving contaminated steroid injections.

The 56-year-old mother received a series of three injections at a Nashville clinic before becoming extremely ill and passing away 10 days later.

The loss left a huge void in the lives of those close to Diana, especially her husband Wayne.

Wayne, 60, suffers from ALS. He’s battled the disease for nearly 30 years and is one of the longest surviving victims.

Wayne Reed, Pat Ward, Diana Reed
Wayne Reed’s wife Diana died of fungal meningitis in 2012.

His wife was his primary caretaker.

“I miss her. I just miss her,” Reed told News 2.

The FBI came to Reed’s home a few months ago to discuss his wife’s death.

Pat Ward, Diana’s best friend, said investigators gave them hope that eventually arrests would be made.

“They were so kind and wanted this to not just go away without something happening. They assured us they would do everything within their power to see that charges were brought,” said Ward.

Wayne Reed received an email from the FBI Wednesday notifying him of the arrests.

He told News 2 he feels like he is finally getting justice.

While the charges won’t bring his wife back, Reed hopes they will lead to stricter regulations for compounding centers so no family has to endure the pain his family has.

“We want to prevent more deaths like my wife’s,” he said.

“I think if Diana were here, her reaction would be that she is so sorry that Wayne has been left alone. She would be sorry that she can’t be with him. She would want some sort of justice brought, not as much on her behalf, but on his behalf,” Ward told News 2.

Reed’s family filed a lawsuit after Diana’s death. It is still pending and could take years to resolve.

*The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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