A London based pharmaceutical company is facing criminal prosecution following the deaths of babies at several British hospitals, police have announced.
Representatives from ITH Pharma will appear in court in December charged with supplying a contaminated feeding drip to premature babies between May 27 and June 2, 2014.
Three babies died and another 20 needed treatment after contracting septicemia (blood poisoning).
The Telegraph reports: The charges follow a four year investigation by the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide and Major Crime Command after the death of a baby at at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in June 2014.
The deaths of a further two infants, one at Guy’s and another at the Rosie Maternity Hospital in Cambridge, were also subsequently investigated by detectives.
The investigation centred around allegations that the infants fell seriously ill and developed blood poisoning after being fed with nutrients manufactured by ITH Pharma.
In all 20 children required treatment after contracting septicaemia while being treated at six hospitals across the UK.
The infants, who were being looked after in premature baby units, were being given fluid as nutrition because they were unable to feed themselves.
Public Health England (PHE) and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) launched an initial investigation but the case was later taken over by Scotland Yard.
The parents of nine day old Yousef Al-Kharboush, who died in June 2014, said they would never recover from what happened.
He and his twin brother Abdulilah were born by emergency Caesarean section at the hospital at 32 weeks gestation in May 2014.
While in intensive care they were both fed intravenously, and while Abdulilah was not affected, Yousef contracted lethal blood poisoning allegedly from the Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) feed.
Their lawyer Arti Shah, from Fieldfisher, said: “It has been incredibly hard for Yousef’s parents to have to wait so long for a charging decision while the company has simply been allowed to continue to trade.
“Yousef’s family has suffered the worst grief imaginable.”
ITH Pharma was founded by Adam Bloom and Karen Hamling, who are both trained pharmacists.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “ITH Pharma Ltd, based at Premier Park, NW10, has been charged with seven counts of supplying a medicinal product which was not of the nature or quality specified in the prescription on 27 May, 2014.
“It has also been charged with failing to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that patients were not infected by contaminants, in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act, between 1 August 2009 and 1 June 2014.