British pharmaceutical company fined for tainted baby food – Jamaica Observer
LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) – A British pharmaceutical company was fined more than £1million on Friday for supplying contaminated food to premature babies and potentially causing “serious harm”.
Nineteen infants were infected in nine hospitals in England after receiving a contaminated batch of “total parenteral nutrition” from ITH Pharma.
They had all received the liquid directly into their bloodstream because they were unable to feed themselves.
Three of the babies later died, although Southwark Crown Court in south London was told the deaths were not product-related or caused by the company.
But Judge Deborah Taylor said that in the event of the death of a premature twin, the company’s processes risk “serious damage and/or death”.
London’s Metropolitan Police launched an investigation in 2014 after the three babies died and 20 others needed treatment when they contracted sepsis.
The force said ITH Pharma was fined £1.2m ($1.5m, €1.4m) after pleading guilty to three offenses at a hearing previous.
The company admitted one charge of failing to carry out a proper and sufficient risk assessment, and two of supplying a drug “not of the nature or quality specified in the prescription”.
Chief Detective Inspector Richard Leonard, who led the investigation, paid tribute to the families of those affected.
“We salute their bravery and dignity in coming to court and reliving their most difficult times,” he said in a statement.
“We hope they can be reassured that the criminal proceedings are now complete.”
ITH Pharma, which supplies the state-run National Health Service, said it offered its condolences to the families of those affected and accepted the fine imposed by the court.
A spokesperson described the events of May 2014 as “quite exceptional”.
“Since 2008, parenteral nutrition produced by ITH has helped tens of thousands of the most vulnerable babies survive premature and complex births.”