Owner of meningitis-linked pharmacy takes Fifth - WNEM TV 5

Owner of meningitis-linked pharmacy takes Fifth

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WASHINGTON (AP) -

The owner and director of the specialty pharmacy tied to a deadly meningitis outbreak has declined to testify before a congressional committee investigating the matter.

Barry Cadden, co-founder of the New England Compound Center, told lawmakers he would use his Fifth Amendment right to not answer questions in order to avoid self-incrimination.

After repeated questions by House lawmakers, Cadden told the House Energy and Commerce Committee: "Under advice of counsel, I respectfully decline to answer under basis of my constitutional rights and privileges, including the Fifth Amendment."

Lawmakers continued to ask Cadden questions about the contamination that has sickened nearly 440 people and caused 32 deaths.

Officials in Michigan say there have been at least 129 infections and nine deaths in Michigan linked to a national meningitis outbreak.

The Michigan Department of Community Health says the state has had 65 cases of meningitis, including the nine deaths. In addition, there have been 57 epidural abscesses, one stroke and six joint infections.

Livingston County and Washtenaw counties have had two deaths each, with one each in Cass, Charlevoix, Genesee, Ingham and Wayne counties.

Fungal meningitis has been linked to contaminated steroids produced by a Massachusetts pharmacy and shipped to four Michigan clinics. Patients who became ill had received injections for neck or back pain.

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Online:

Michigan Department of Community Health meningitis link: http://1.usa.gov/Wom9rn

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meningitis outbreak map: http://1.usa.gov/Qsw1eU

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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