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Jury Reaches Verdict In New England Compounding Pharmacy Trial

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Boston area pharmacist Barry Cadden has been found not guilty in the deaths of 25 people. Cadden's company, the New England Compounding Center, shipped tainted steroys (ph) to help - steroids to healthcare providers around the country that led to numerous deaths and illnesses. The jury did find him guilty of racketeering and fraud. Gabrielle Emanuel of WGBH has more.

GABRIELLE EMANUEL, BYLINE: During more than nine weeks of testimony, both sides agreed on one thing - that in 2012, Barry Cadden's New England Compounding Center made and shipped steroid injections that were contaminated with mold nationwide. More than 700 people fell sick and dozens of them died. It was the largest meningitis outbreak in U.S. history. From there, the two sides told vastly different stories.

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WILLIAM WEINREB: Mr. Cadden knew that he was running his business dishonestly, but he kept doing it that way to make sure that the money kept rolling in.

EMANUEL: That's acting U.S. attorney William Weinreb. Prosecutors described a pharmacy teeming with mold and insects. They claimed Cadden hired unlicensed pharmacy technicians and shipped out untested and mislabeled medications. On those allegations, the jury agreed. They found Cadden guilty of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering and mail fraud. On those counts, Weinreb was pleased.

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WEINREB: Those are extremely serious offenses, and they carry very stiff penalties.

EMANUEL: But prosecutors also charged Cadden with second degree murder because they said he knew his drugs could kill people, and he still shipped them out. Prosecutors said that even if he didn't explicitly intend to kill people, it was murder by virtue of extreme recklessness.

Defense attorneys countered that Cadden took action as soon as he knew there was a problem. Just as the 2012 outbreak was starting, they portrayed Cadden working through the night, calling clinics and leaving warnings on their message machines.

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BARRY CADDEN: We would like you to quarantine this product at this point and call us soon as possible to discuss the situation. Again, Barry at New England Compounding. We consider this an emergency. So please...

EMANUEL: In the end, the jury decided the government's murder charges went too far. They found Cadden not guilty. For the convictions he did receive, Barry Cadden could spend the rest of his life in prison. Another pharmacist at the New England Compounding Center will soon face trial on similar charges. For NPR News, I'm Gabrielle Emanuel.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And now a clarification from our interview yesterday with Republican Congressman Ted Yoho.

MCEVERS: In that conversation, the congressman said, in 2009, 85 percent of Americans had health care on their own or through their employers.

CORNISH: While it is true that 85 percent of Americans had health insurance in 2009, many of those people had insurance through Medicare and Medicaid, not insurance acquired on their own or through their employers. Census data shows that only about 64 percent of people had private health insurance in 2009. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.