Barry Cadden: Pharmacy exec sentenced in meningitis outbreak

Barry Cadden, the co-owner of a Massachusetts pharmacy that was blamed for the deaths of 76 people in a nation-wide meningitis outbreak, was sentenced to nine years in prison on Monday.

Cadden was acquitted of second-degree murder charges, but was convicted on conspiracy and fraud charges.


The deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak, which also sickened hundreds of people, was traced back to contaminated injections of medical steroids made by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, which Cadden co-owned.

Cadden apologized to the victims who were sickened or lost loved ones in court Monday.

Prosecutors argued that Cadden ran the center dangerously by dodging industry sterility regulations in order to sell more products and make more money.


Prosecutors asked the judge to sentence Cadden to 35 years in prison, while Caddens lawyer argued he should get 2 1/2 to 3 years. His lawyer also argued that Glenn Chin, a supervisory pharmacist who oversaw the rooms where the drugs were made, was responsible for the meningitis deaths.

The judge sentenced Cadden with the harshest penalty possible under the law. He must report to prison by August 7, but remains free on bond until that date.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Brexit Fight Looms Over Role of European Court, U.K. Warns

Britain is ready to “fight” the European Union’s demand that judges on the continent hold sway in the U.K. after Brexit, as Theresa May’s government warns that a final deal with the bloc is not certain. 

Brexit Secretary David Davis, in a direct challenge to officials in Brussels, said the European Court of Justice won’t have a role protecting the rights of 3.2 million EU nationals living in U.K. after the country leaves in 2019.

David Davis on June 25.

Photographer: Jeff Overs/BBC

Some other arbitration body may need to be set up to rule on disputes over the rights of EU citizens, “but it’s not going to be the European Court of Justice,” Davis said in an interview with the BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show” on Sunday. “That’s where the fight comes in.”

Davis also said he is “pretty sure” a Brexit deal will be reached before time runs out but added: “I’m not 100 percent sure — it’s a negotiation.”

The minister gave his assessment after he began talks with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier in Brussels last week. With the clock ticking down to Britain’s departure on March 29, 2019, the U.K. is under pressure to reach agreements quickly.

Britain has agreed that talks on a new trading relationship can’t begin until sufficient progress has been made on issues such as citizens’ rights and the U.K.’s financial settlement, with every day’s delay making a final trade deal more difficult.

Dispute Arbitration

A key sticking point is the role of European judges in arbitrating disputes, which the EU sees as an essential protection for its citizens. The U.K. has ruled out giving any powers to the ECJ after Brexit — a position Davis underlined on Sunday.

May outlined her broad offer on citizens’ rights at a summit of EU leaders last week and her government will publish a 15-page document setting out the details on Monday.

“What we have set out to do is to create a status almost equivalent to the same as British citizens,” Davis said. “They get the same residence rights, the same employment rights, the same health rights, the same welfare rights, the same pension rights.”

Britain is ready to make unilateral guarantees on the indexation of EU nationals’ pensions, while also promising free healthcare to Europeans living in Britain, Davis said.

These rights will be protected for those living legally in the U.K. at least before the prime minister triggered the start of the Brexit process on March 29, he said. The final cut-off date will be subject to negotiation, Davis added, as the EU wants to protect the rights of all nationals residing in Britain on the day the country leaves in 2019.

In the interview, Davis also gave a candid description of Barnier. “He’s very French,” he said. “He is very grand” and also “very elegant,” the minister added. “He wants a deal as much as we want a deal, I think.”

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    UK Parliament Warns of Cyberattack on Lawmakers Accounts

    A cyberattack on the British Parliament has caused panic among lawmakers and triggered an investigation. A spokeswoman for the House of Commons said Saturday that unauthorized attempts to access parliamentary user accounts had been detected, the Associated Press reported. The National Cyber Security Center is working to secure the computer network, and remote access for lawmakers has been disabled as a precaution, she said. We have systems in place to protect member and staff accounts and are taking the necessary steps to protect our systems, she said. Lawmakers had earlier taken to Twitter to sound the alarm over the cyberattack, warning that they would not be able to reply to emails from constituents. No further details were given on the scale of the breach. The incident comes after the countrys National Health Service was hit by an unprecedented ransomware attack in May that forced some hospitals to turn away patients.

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    London fire: 800 London apartments evacuated over fire safety concerns

    Some 800 households from five publicly-owned apartment towers in London were evacuated Friday night after an inspection found them to be unsafe. 

    Safety concerns in residential buildings are top of mind in London following the devastating Grenfell Tower fire that killed 79 people in a west London high-rise last week.

    The move comes as residents of thousands of tower blocks around the Britain expressed concern and outrage after commonly used building materials were blamed for rapidly spreading the blaze that destroyed Grenfell Tower.

    Camden Council in north London, which announced the evacuation, was the first local government to take the dramatic step of emptying its buildings so safety upgrades could be made.

    “I’ve made the really, really difficult decision to move the people living there into temporary accommodation while we do the urgent works to guarantee safety,” Council Leader Georgia Gould told reporters outside the public housing complex. 


    Public safety concerns have been prompted by exterior cladding known as aluminum composite panels, which are believed to have rapidly spread the fire at Grenfell Tower on June 14, trapping residents in their homes before firefighters could save them.

    Local councils around Britain are testing similar panels on hundreds of their buildings. Fourteen apartment blocks have so far tested positive for combustible materials.

    The council encouraged residents to stay with friends and family, but promised to provide temporary accommodation, if that weren’t possible. Repairs on the building are expected to be completed within three to four weeks.

    The council gave notice it had concerns about the cladding on its buildings Thursday, when tests showed the material was not the fire-resistant variety it had ordered.

    Earlier Friday, police said they were considering filing manslaughter charges in the Grenfell disaster.

    In its most detailed briefing yet on the criminal investigation, the Metropolitan Police on Friday confirmed residents’ suspicions that the inferno at Grenfell was touched off by a refrigerator fire.


    The department also said cladding attached to the 24-story public housing project during a recent renovation failed safety tests conducted by investigators, and that police have seized documents from a number of organizations.

    “We are looking at every criminal offense from manslaughter onwards,” Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack told reporters. “We are looking at all health and safety and fire safety offenses, and we are reviewing every company at the moment involved in the building and refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.”

    The government has ordered an immediate examination of the refrigerator model that started the blaze. McCormack said the Hotpoint model FF175BP refrigerator-freezer had not been subject to any product recalls before the fire.

    Police are looking at all parts of the cladding system and its installation, McCormack said.

    “Preliminary tests show the insulation samples collected from Grenfell Tower combusted soon after the test started,” she said. “The initial tests on equivalent aluminum composite tiles failed the safety tests.”

    Authorities now acknowledge the risks posed by exterior cladding to thousands of people around the country who live in blocks like Grenfell Tower.

    The government has called on all building owners, public and private, to submit samples of cladding material used on their buildings for testing. Samples from 14 buildings in London, Manchester and Plymouth have already been found to be combustible.

    Police say 79 people are either dead or missing and presumed dead in the blaze, although that number may change.

    To make sure everyone comes forward, both London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Prime Minister Theresa May said the government would not penalize any fire survivors for being in the country illegally.

    “We want to identify all those who died as result of the fire at Grenfell Tower, and that is where I need the public’s help,” McCormack said. “I do not want there to be any hidden victims of this tragedy.”

    Heartbreaking messages written on red London Fire Brigade T-shirts offer poignant tributes alongside flowers, toys and candles at the shrine. One tribute, from a firefighter in the Kensington and Chelsea borough read: “20th floor, we tried… we’re sorry.”

    Another firefighter wrote “Our hearts go out to everyone touched by this tragedy. We did our best I promise.”

    The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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    Construction tech company Aproplan closes 5 million Series A

    Not so long ago the administration needed to run a major construction project relied almost entirely on pen, paper, excel spreadsheets and faxes. That has provided a huge opportunity for startups to take a stab at digitising the construction industry.

    Brussels-based Aproplan, which bills itself as akin to Salesforce for construction, is one such company, and today is disclosing that it has raised 5 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Fortino Capital, and existing investors including Inventures, Matexi, and the co-founders of Showpad: Pieterjan Bouten, Louis Jonckheere, and Peter Minne.

    Im told the new capital will be used by Aproplan to further its marketing and sales capabilities and to develop new features to improve the on-site experience for the construction workers its wares serve. That includes creating a better and more efficient paper trail albeit, a digital one as transparency, traceability and accountability is paramount in the construction industry.

    Explains Aproplan co-founder and CEO Thomas Goubau: The construction industry has been slow to adapt to technology. There are a lot of parties involved in a construction project and they simply do not trust one another. Actually, they trust each other so little that they still send documents via certified mail to protect themselves. Communication moves at a snails pace.

    As a result, the construction industry often deliverers subpar products. Goubau reckons that 30 per cent of construction projects end up in court, 20 per cent take longer than expected to finish, and 80 per cent run over budget.

    Think of where marketing was 16 years ago before Salesforce came around, he says. Thats where the construction industry has been up until recently. We want to change that so we created an app that works as a mutual space to share information, updates, and processes.

    Available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, the Aproplan app is designed to be used collaboratively by contractors, engineers, architects, and clients to facilitate communication, logging, and reporting of construction projects. So, for example, the app can help contractors digitise health and safety reports and for engineers to follow the plan needed to comply with building regulations.

    We are already seeing our solution gain significant traction we recently signed an agreement with the Association of Major Belgian Contractors, a federation of Belgiums 60 biggest construction companies, adds Goubau. They have committed to the digitisation of the Belgian construction sector and to use Aproplan to do so. Leading names in the construction industry like BESIX and BAM are already using Aproplan to improve on-time delivery and remain in budget.

    Of course, Aproplan isnt the only upstart dragging construction into the 21st Century. Others operating in a similar space include U.S.-based PlanGrid, backed by the likes of Sequoia and Founders Fund, and in Europe there is GenieBelt.

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    Social media pressure is linked to cosmetic procedure boom – BBC News

    Image copyright Science Photo Library

    Young people are turning to cosmetic procedures such as botox and dermal fillers as a result of social media pressure, according to a report.

    A study by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics says government must protect people from an unregulated industry.

    The report also condemns makeover apps and online plastic surgery games aimed at children as young as nine.

    The authors fear such apps are contributing to growing anxieties around body image.

    Much of the cosmetic procedures industry is unregulated so reliable data on its size is hard to come by.

    In 2015 one market research company estimated the UK market could be worth as much as 3.6bn.

    But there is little doubt it has grown significantly over the past decade.

    Focus on body image

    The report identifies several factors that are encouraging young people in particular to focus on body image.

    These include increasing levels of anxiety around appearance, the rise of social media where photos can receive positive or negative ratings and the popularity of celebrity culture, complete with airbrushed images and apparently perfect lifestyles.

    Image caption Prof Jeanette Edwards says the panel was shocked to discover palstic surgery apps aimed at young girls

    Prof Jeanette Edwards, from the University of Manchester, who chaired the council’s inquiry into ethical issues surrounding cosmetic procedures, said some of the evidence around games aimed at younger children had surprised the panel.

    “We’ve been shocked by some of the evidence we’ve seen, including make-over apps and cosmetic surgery ‘games’ that target girls as young as nine.

    “There is a daily bombardment from advertising and through social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat that relentlessly promote unrealistic and often discriminatory messages on how people, especially girls and women, ‘should’ look.”

    Plastic surgery Apps

    The report describes how apps with names such as “Plastic Surgery Princess”, “Little Skin Doctor” and “Pimp My Face” could be contributing to mental health problems in young people.

    Media playback is unsupported on your device

    Media captionDeclan Green: ‘You want to show everything you’re doing 24/7’

    Prof Edwards also called for cosmetic procedures to be banned for anyone under 18 unless they involve a multi-disciplinary team of specialists, GPs and psychologists.

    “Under 18s should not be able to just walk in off the street and have a cosmetic procedure.

    “There are legal age limits for having tattoos or using sun beds. Invasive cosmetic procedures should be regulated in a similar way.”

    ‘Immense pressure on the young’

    Charlie Massey, chief executive of the General Medical Council, which regulates doctors, said that it had already introduced standards for those performing cosmetic procedures to ensure they work safely and ethically and was developing similar guidelines for surgeons.

    “Cosmetic interventions are not without risk, and anyone considering a procedure must have confidence that those carrying it out have the necessary skills and competence to do so safely.

    “We hope this certification system will, in time, help set the standard for similar forms of accreditation in different areas of practice, that will provide additional reassurance to patients.”

    A government spokesperson also said action had been taken to improve regulation.

    But they added: “This report highlights once again that we live in a world where young people are under immense pressure on a daily basis about how they should look – it is ethically wrong for companies to exploit this and offer unnecessary cosmetic procedures to under 18s.”

    Kevin Hancock, of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said the report “voices may of the same concerns” his organisation has.

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    Glasgow site found for UK’s first legal drug addict ‘fix room’ – BBC News

    Image caption The facility could help up to 500 users who take drugs openly in Glasgow city centre streets and who are rarely in touch with services

    A site for the UK’s first legal drug consumption room has been identified by council and NHS officials.

    It is hoped the facility in Glasgow city centre, which would allow users to take drugs under supervision, could be operational in early 2018.

    Proposals to be discussed by the city’s Integration Joint Board (IJB) also include the prescription of medical-grade heroin for some addicts.

    Doctors said the proposal would save money for the wider NHS.

    The IJB said the annual cost of the service would be 2.36m, paid for by the city council and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

    The site, owned by the city council, has been identified between Trongate, Saltmarket and the River Clyde and officials are discussing leasing arrangements.

    HIV cases

    The proposals for a safer drug consumption facility (SDCF), with a separate service allowing some users to access heroin-assisted treatment (Hat), followed concern about a possible public health outbreak following a steep rise in the number of HIV cases among drug injectors.

    There are an estimated 90 new cases of HIV diagnosed in Glasgow among people who inject drugs in the city, which health officials say could cost the NHS more than 29m over the lifetime of the sufferers.

    At least 78 cases diagnosed in Glasgow since 2015 could potentially create lifetime costs to the health service of 29.64m. This group has now grown to 90, with 12 infections already recorded to date this year.

    Image copyright Science Photo Library
    Image caption It is estimated that there are about 500-600 people injecting drugs in and around Glasgow city centre

    Drugs deaths in the city remain high – 157 in 2015.

    Dr Saket Priyadarshi, the health board’s associate medical director said: “There will be a benefit to the costs experienced in our acute services, hospitals, A&E departments, GP appointments, prisons, criminal justice system, housing etc.”

    Users attending the services will be offered health care and other support such as housing and financial help.

    Glasgow has an estimated 13,600 problem drug users – 3.2% of the city’s population.

    The IJB said: “In terms of social costs incurred as a result of problem drug use, namely the cost to victims of crime, the cost of pain and suffering for the individuals themselves and their families caused by drug-related death, it is estimated that the annual cost of each problem drug user is 31,438.”

    Complex needs

    Andrew Horne, director of Addaction – Scotland’s biggest provider of community drug and alcohol services – said the hardcore of 400-500 people injecting drugs in and around Glasgow city centre were the hardest to reach and engage with.

    “These people tend to have long histories of heroin use and as a result have complex needs – including physical health conditions that make them even more at risk of overdose,” he said.

    He said the primary aim of the centre was to reduce public consumption, discarded equipment and drug-related deaths, but said there were other crucial spin-off objectives.

    “In particular, people would get access to a range of other services like health check-ups, social work support and access to treatment and recovery.

    “It’s impossible to help people make changes in their lives if they are not in touch with local services; which is something supervised injection facilities could be the gateway to.”

    The IJB will be asked on Wednesday to direct the city council and the health board to proceed with the next stages of the project.

    But it must also seek a legal exemption from the Lord Advocate to allow the possession of street-purchased heroin within the SCDF.

    A Crown Office statement said: “Misuse of drugs legislation remains a reserved issue and any such scheme has a number of different policy considerations that the Scottish government will want to consider in detail.

    “The Lord Advocate has yet to receive a detailed proposal in relation to any such scheme.”

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    Carrie Fisher would have wanted us to know about the drugs

    Carrie Fisher and her constant companion, the French bulldog Gary, at a signing for her final book last November.
    Image: MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock

    There’s a wonderful sight gag in Postcards from the Edge, the movie based on the novel based on Carrie Fisher’s life. The Fisher character, just released from drug rehab, is in the kitchen having an argument with her mother. Personifying her cleaner-than-thou attitude, the mother is making herself a smoothie, filling the blender with the healthiest fruit and veggies you can imagine.

    And just before hitting the go button, blink and you’ll miss it, she adds a generous splash of vodka.

    That’s it, right there the kind of societal hypocrisy that Fisher noted and skewered throughout her life, hilariously. Sure, I have drug problems, she said. I self-medicate, and I’m not alone.

    She wanted to stop this kind of stuff mental health problems and their medications from hiding in the shadows where it does the most harm. She named it, all of it: the too-strong pot she smoked with Harrison Ford during the filming of Star Wars; the cocaine problem she brought to Empire Strikes Back (she had plenty of jokes about snow on the Hoth set); and yes, the booze that causes just as many problems as any illegal or prescription drug.

    When the official coroner’s report on Fisher’s untimely death was released Monday, there was a move on the part of some fans to draw a discreet veil over parts of it specifically the fact that she had cocaine, heroin, codeine, oxycodone and MDMA in her system.

    Especially given that the nearest thing to a cause of death was sleep apnea, they reasoned, wasn’t this just invasion of privacy from beyond the grave?

    But as other fans swiftly pointed out, Carrie never wanted to draw a veil over anything involving substance use, abuse or her mental health.

    She wanted it all out there, the pain and the things she used to alleviate the pain. She wanted everyone who struggles with these matters to know they are not alone.

    After all, lest we forget, this is a woman who left strict instructions that her ashes were to be interred in a giant Prozac pill.

    “Without her drugs, maybe she would have left long ago,” her brother Todd said in a statement last week.

    Let’s be honest: Nobody would be splashing vodka into their smoothies if they didn’t at least feel like they needed it.

    “I used to refer to my drug use as putting the monster in the box,” Fisher said in the book of her one-woman show, Wishful Drinking. “I wanted to be less, so I took more.”

    Later in the book comes this gem: “You know how they say that religion is the opiate of the masses? Well, I took masses of opiates religiously.”

    Drugs have always been with us; it’s only society’s attitude to them that changes. Yes, cocaine is a damaging and addictive drug. And 9 milligrams of it were in every bottle of Coca-Cola until 1903. Heroin was once considered less dangerous than aspirin (the same German chemist synthesized both). Small trials have even suggested that MDMA can alleviate symptoms of PTSD.

    Oxycodone and codeine are currently legal; they are also partly responsible for the largest opioid epidemic in American history. (Given the Trump Administration’s plan to defund the fight against this epidemic, we most definitely need to be talking about it at every opportunity.)

    I have personally met many people whose lives were changed by Carrie Fisher’s desire to talk openly about every aspect of her mental health struggles, from the suicidal thoughts to the electroshock therapy. Millions more could be helped if we started having an open and honest discussion about drugs.

    That starts with not sweeping them under the carpet. We all have something to alleviate the pain of living (and if you don’t think that includes you because you don’t use “substances,” I’m willing to bet that food, caffeine, tobacco, TV, shopping, sex or religion has helped ease your troubles).

    Could we possibly admit to ourselves that it isn’t really about what we use so much as the quantity? Could we identify the fuzzy line where self-medication ends and abuse begins, and talk about when and why we cross that line?

    If we could, it would be one more victory to chalk up to Carrie Fisher a woman in full, who was not just a princess, but a hypocrisy-seeking missile.

    BONUS: Carrie Fisher was a bold advocate for people with mental illness

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    Cheryl Celebrates Liam Payne On His First Father’s Day!

    So cute!!

    Cheryl took to Instagram on Sunday morning to share a pic of partner Liam Payne, and wish him a happy first Father’s Day for loving and caring for their son, Bear, who was born in March.

    Related: Liam’s Strip That Down Music Video!

    In a passionate IG post, Cole shared the photo you see above of Liam (without our insert of her), and also wrote the following sweet message in the caption (below):

    “Happy 1st Father’s Day Liam.. You are the most amazing daddy and the best example for our son. The way he looks at you says it all. Your relationship melts my heart. You are the centre of his world & We adore you”

    Awww!! Too cute!

    Ch-ch-check it out (below)!!!

    Such a great time for the happy couple! We couldn’t be smiling any more!!!

    What about you, Perezcious readers?! Thoughts??

    Share ’em in the comments (below)!

    [Image via Instagram.]

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    ‘Die painfully, ok?’ Check out the sort of hate mail the ‘peaceful’ Left sends GOP lawmakers (graphic)

    Remind us again which party is the so-called party of hate? And which party is sexist and mean to women?

    This piece of hate mail was sent to a FEMALE Republican after the AHCA vote – please be advised the language is very graphic and violent:

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