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Dec 19, 6:22 PM EST

Home confinement ordered for ex-pharmacy officials

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BOSTON (AP) -- A federal judge on Friday ordered home confinement and GPS monitoring for two former officials with a now-defunct Massachusetts compounding pharmacy at the center of a 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people and sickened more than 750 others across the country.

Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal in Boston set bail and release conditions for Barry Cadden and Glenn Chin while they await trial.

Cadden is a co-founder of the now-shuttered New England Compounding Center; Chin was the Framingham company's supervisory pharmacist. They have pleaded not guilty to 25 counts each of second-degree murder under federal racketeering law. Twelve others also face charges.

Cadden was released on $500,000 bail; Chin was released on $50,000 bail. Boal also banned both men from working in the pharmaceutical industry while they await trial.

In a ruling Thursday, Boal said the U.S. attorney's office had "not met its burden" in requesting the detention of Cadden and Chin. Prosecutors had asked that both men be held without bail until trial.

Lawyers for both men didn't immediately comment after the hearing.

Cadden and Chin were among 14 people arrested Wednesday in a federal racketeering conspiracy that authorities say is the largest U.S. criminal case ever brought over contaminated medicine.

New England Compounding Center employees are accused of using expired ingredients and failing to follow cleanliness standards, resulting in tainted steroid injections used mostly for back pain. People in 20 states were affected. About half developed a rare fungal form of meningitis. The rest suffered joint or spinal infections. Indiana, Michigan, and Tennessee were the hardest hit.

Cadden and Chin face the most serious charges. The other defendants face charges including fraud and interstate sale of adulterated drugs.

During the court hearing Thursday, lawyers for Cadden and Chin argued that their clients do not pose a serious risk of fleeing because they have deep roots in Massachusetts and have long been aware of the likelihood of their arrest.

After the outbreak came to light, regulators found a host of potential sources of contamination at the pharmacy, including standing water, mold and dirty equipment. The business filed for bankruptcy after it was bombarded with hundreds of lawsuits from victims or their heirs.

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