The meningitis outbreak stemming from an infected batch of vials of a steroid prepared at a factory of the Framingham-based New England Compounding Center, Inc (NECC) has ties to Wrentham.
Barry Cadden, the co-owner of the company, is a Wrentham resident and recently donated to Senator Scott Brown (R-Wrentham) campaign. Brown has since given the money to charity.
This month, it was discovered that steroids for back pain produced by NECC had contain fungal meningitis. According to the Wall Street Journal, an estimated 13,000 patients may have been exposed to the form of meningitis though the injection. As of Oct. 11, there were 170 reported cases of rare fungal meningitis nationwide along with 14 deaths with more cases expected.
Cadden made three donations to Brown’s campaign, totaling $5,000 during the summer.
NECC co-owner Greg Conigliaro also made a $2,500 donation to the Brown campaign in June 2012 and hosted a fundraiser for Brown at his home in Southborough. The fundraiser, which hosted 85-90 supporters, brought an estimated $37,000 to the Brown campaign, according to WCVB.
After initially saying on Oct. 10 that he had no plans to return the donations, Brown’s campaign later said that the $10,000 given by members of the Cadden and the Conigliaro families would be donated to the Meningitis Foundation of America.
"Senator Brown supports a full and thorough investigation to determine responsibility for this tragedy and to ensure nothing like it ever happens again," the campaign said in a statement.
In addition, Senator Brown denied knowing the Cadden family to WCVB, saying the name “doesn’t ring a bell.”
Despite the call for an investigation, Brown was one of 11 Senators to sign a letter from the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacies to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in July of this year, asking the DEA to change how compounding pharmacies are allowed to distribute controlled drugs.
While Brown defended the letter as an example of bipartisanship that is unrelated to this issue, BU law professor Kevin Outterson told WCVB that the letter is an example of something that is often used by industry lobbyists to prevent further regulation and agreed that letters like this deters federal agencies from regulating industries.
Since the outbreak, Cadden and NECC have been declining requests for comment from multiple media outlets and releasing very few statement.