Congress Calls on Hamburg, Compounding Pharmacist to Testify at Hearing

| 07 November 2012 |  By 

Some people get invitations to appear before Congress; others, subpoenas. Barry Cadden, co-owner of the New England Compounding Center (NECC), is of the latter category.

The House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee announced on 6 November that it had sent a subpoena to Cadden, whose company has been linked to an outbreak of fungal meningitis that has claimed the lives of dozens of patients and made hundreds more ill.

The E&C Committee has scheduled a high-profile hearing to discuss whether there are lessons to be learned from the outbreak and to determine culpability for the crisis.

Though legislators said they had sought Cadden's voluntary cooperation, they said he indicated he would not appear willingly through his legal counsel, necessitating the subpoena.

"With more than 400 people infected and 30 deaths, it is critical that we hear directly from the head of the facility linked to the outbreak," wrote E&C Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA) in a joint statement. "Since Mr. Cadden has indicated he will not appear voluntarily, we are left with no choice but to issue a subpoena. We urge Barry Cadden to put the public health first and answer the committee's questions about the deadly outbreak."

The hearing could be one of the highest profile in the waning months of the 112th Congress. The scandal has received prominent and sustained media attention, and US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg is also scheduled to appear-albeit willingly-at the 14 November hearing.


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