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New England Compounding Center is under scrutiny after a meningitis outbreak.
BOSTON--The pharmacy linked to a deadly outbreak of meningitis is owned by two brothers-in-law who brought different skills to the venture: One's a pharmacist, the other a businessman who made his mark recycling old computers, fishing rope and mattresses.
The New England Compounding Center and its practices are under scrutiny as investigators try to determine how a steroid solution supplied by the pharmacy apparently became contaminated with a fungus. The drug has sickened nearly 200 people, killing 15.
NECC was founded in 1998 by Barry Cadden and Gregory Conigliaro as a compounding pharmacy, a laboratory that custom-mixes solution, creams and other medicines in dosages and forms that often are unavailable from pharmaceutical companies.
Cadden, 45, who is married to Conigliaro's sister, earned a pharmacy degree from the University of Rhode Island. In a 2002 newsletter, he wrote that compounding had rebounded and could help patients with painful conditions that demand "novel approaches."
Conigliaro, 46, is a Tufts University-educated engineer. He started Conigliaro Industries in 1991.
The company contended that pretty much anything could be recycled. Conigliaro and his father developed Boston's Best Patch, a pothole-filling mix that included the plastic housing from discarded computers. Conigliaro Industries also boasts that it figured out how to recycle up to 90 percent of a discarded mattress.
And when regulators ordered that lobster traps be fitted with ropes that sink to the bottom, Conigliaro took the discarded plastic lines and resold them to recycling plants, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Conigliaro's success at the recycling company was repeated at the compounding pharmacy, and in 2006, the partners started another pharmacy, Ameridose.
Ameridose products have not been linked to any problems, but the pharmacy in Westborough, Mass., has ceased operations while state and federal authorities inspect it.
Cadden has surrendered his pharmacy license and resigned from Ameridose.