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2:45 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Owners Took $16M Out of NECC

Federal agents investigate the offices of the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., on Oct. 23, 2012. The company's steroid medication has been linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak.
Credit Barry Chin / AP

The family who owns the New England Compounding Center, the Framingham pharmacy at the center of last year’s meningitis outbreak, were paid more than $16 million from December 2011 to November 2012, according to a report in the Boston Globe.

Frederic Ellis, an attorney for the victims and families of victims of the meningitis outbreak, told WGBH the payments occurred during a period when the owners knew about potential problems at the plant, calling it “disturbing.”

"One of the things that will have to be explored in the bankruptcy is were they making these kind of payment back in 2010, 2011 on a monthly basis or was this something new that they just started end of 2011 and 2012?" he said. “… Clearly, they were taking all the profits out of the business on a monthly basis.”

Ellis said the news was troubling for victims of the meningitis outbreak, which left 39 dead and hundreds infected.

"For most of the victims out there, I don’t think this is any surprise” he said. “They’re upset, you know, these guys are basically taking millions and millions and millions of dollars out of the business and at the end of the day, when they file for bankruptcy, they have $1.2 million in their bank accounts. And if they hadn’t withdrawn all this money, we could have had $17 million to go to the victims."