State News

Feds seek company exec in tainted-syringe case

Posted February 24, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— The day after two managers pleaded guilty to shipping bacteria-tainted syringes from an Angier plant, federal investigators continued searching Tuesday for the company's former president.

Prosecutors: N.C. company shipped tainted syringes Prosecutors: N.C. company shipped tainted syringes

Dushyant Patel, the former president and chief executive of AM2PAT, was indicted last week on 10 federal charges, including fraud and selling adulterated medical devices.

Authorities said he might have fled to his native India, and they are seeking help from Interpol.

Syringes from AM2PAT were taken off the market early last year and the Angier plant was closed following an outbreak of the bacterial infection Serratia in Colorado, Texas, Illinois and Florida. Five people died of the infection, and at least 100 others were sickened.

No cases were reported in North Carolina.

AM2PAT sold syringes filled with saline and heparin, a blood thinner. The syringes are used to flush intravenous lines during cancer treatments, kidney dialysis and other procedures.

The drugs weren't produced in Angier but were loaded into syringes there and were shipped to hospitals and clinics nationwide.

Federal prosecutors said plant operators failed to follow rules for checking sterility so that the production line would move faster. The syringes were supposed to be loaded in a sterile room, but photos displayed in court showed a room with peeling paint and a window fan held together with duct tape.

"This is a horrific case," U.S. Attorney George Holding said. "(Victims were) just taking the medicine that the doctor prescribed to try and make them better, and it ends up being the tainted product that makes them even worse."

In addition to the sloppy surroundings, plant managers knowingly backdated sterility testing logs to make it appear that the proper procedures had been followed, Holding said.

"It was entirely done for profit and greed," he said.

AM2PAT plant manager Aniruddha Patel and quality control director Ravindra Kumar Sharma each were sentenced Monday in federal court to four years in prison for fraud and allowing tainted drugs into the marketplace.

"It's very disappointing. It probably is going to hurt North Carolina's reputation," said Gary Gilleskie, associate director of the Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center on North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus.

BTEC trains production workers for the state's growing biotechnology industry, Gilleskie said the workers will be better able to help prevent such bacterial outbreaks.

"The better trained that personnel are going into the industry, the better off we are preventing this kind of contamination in the future," he said.

16 Comments

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  • Titus Pullo Feb 24, 6:06 p.m.

    This entire management crew should be tried for murder as they knowingly produced tainted products.

  • FromClayton Feb 24, 2:18 p.m.

    THIS IS NOT CHINA! We need to throw the book at these guys and send a strong message that we protect our people from greedy business owners.

    Now off to wall street!

  • familyfour Feb 24, 10:20 a.m.

    And the gov't proabably loaned them the money to start the business.

  • 4grandbabies Feb 24, 9:55 a.m.

    Who is charged with the murders?

  • ThisIsMyName Feb 24, 9:47 a.m.

    US citizens help propogate the non-US goods in this country by demanding the cheapest price, yet want pay raises each year and no increase in medical costs. Look in the mirror the next time you blame someone else for something.

  • Six String Feb 24, 9:45 a.m.

    Our culture has become all about the money. I wonder when we as a society will start to understand what is important in the grander scheme of life?

  • Ladybug Feb 24, 9:21 a.m.

    Yes, the CEO needs to be punished (if they can find him and get him back). The US needs to be more careful in who they let run and work in companies that have the opportunity to endanger the public.

    Four years is not enough time for killing people and injuring 100's others. Another Plea Deal - we've got to put a stop to this. Commit the crime and PAY for it accordingly. Give a life for taking a life!

  • St Ives Feb 24, 9:17 a.m.

    There is a lesser reguard for human life in other countries and India is one of those countries. Just an observation and anyone who has traveled to India knows this

  • coolwill Feb 24, 9:06 a.m.

    I hate to say this but if US citizens don’t get control of America needs we are all in danger . We have other countries citizens in our banking, government computers, medical,etc it is amazing just amazing. What in your home is made by US citizens (toilet paper).

  • WHEEL Feb 24, 9:01 a.m.

    "atacoo1" I appreciated that they were Indian names when I made the comment. That's why I made it. If you have been to India you will understand if not there is no explanation.

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