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BOSTON, June 26 (Reuters) - A former Massachusetts pharmacy executive who was convicted of racketeering and fraud charges for his role in a deadly U.S. meningitis outbreak in 2012 is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday.
Barry Cadden, the co-founder and former president of the now-defunct New England Compounding Center, was convicted in March of those crimes by a federal jury in Boston but cleared of the harshest charges he faced, second-degree murder.
Prosecutors are seeking at least 35 years in prison for Cadden, whose conduct they said led to 778 patients nationwide being harmed after receiving contaminated steroids injections. That includes 76 people who died, they said.
His lawyers counter that prosecutors are seeking to demonize Cadden, who they said was not convicted of knowing the drugs were contaminated, just of misrepresenting how they were made. They say Cadden, 50, deserves around only three years in prison.
Cadden was one of 14 people tied to Framingham, Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center (NECC) indicted in 2014 following the outbreak. He was one of only two people to face second-degree murder charges.
Prosecutors said Cadden, NECC's head pharmacist, ran the company as a criminal enterprise that sold substandard and non-sterile drugs produced in filthy conditions and shipped to medical facilities nationally for use on unsuspecting patients.
They said Cadden directed the shipment of 17,600 vials of contaminated steroids often prescribed for back pain despite knowing they were made in unsafe conditions, leading to the outbreak. (Reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Scott Malone and Diane Craft)