Prosecutors: N.C. Company Shipped Tainted Heparin Syringes

RALEIGH, N.C.—In an effort to cut corners and increase profit, employees for a supply company knowingly shipped syringes without making sure they were sterile, according to federal prosecutors.

Many of those syringes were tainted with bacteria, causing at least 200 bacterial infections and five deaths before the needles were recalled in 2007.

U.S. Attorney George Holding said that federal authorities have launched an international search for the executive charged with rushing shipments of bacteria contaminated syringes from an AM2PAT Inc. plant. Two former plant workers who provided prosecutors details about the plant’s operations have pleaded guilty for their roles in shipping tainted syringes.

The syringes contained Heparin, a blood thinner, and saline, and were recalled in December 2007 after an outbreak of illnesses. Health inspectors identified bacterial infections in Colorado, Texas, Illinois and Florida.

Heparin and saline are used to flush intravenous lines during cancer treatments, kidney dialysis and other procedures.

The U.S. attorney said investigators believe AM2PAT CEO Dushyant Patel has fled to his native India. Patel was indicted last week on 10 charges including fraud, false statements and selling adulterated medical devices.

AM2PAT is based in Chicago and had a subsidiary in North Carolina.

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