Hexi Pharma biocide products show differences between their declared concentration level and the one actually measured, according to the first official test results announced by Health Ministry Secretary of State Victor Strambu, who pointed out that the products will be pulled from the market and that the company has been fined RON 40,000.
“A lot more samples are at Icechim, here we have around 20 samples. There are differences between the concentration level declared and the one established by Icechim tests, we’re talking about the concentration levels of various products. Iodine – the percentage declared on the label is 10 percent, its real concentration level is 7.41 percent; Glutaraldehyde – 12 percent on the label, 1.23 percent shown by tests. This is how the test results look, some [products] were conformable (propanol),” the secretary of state said.
Victor Strambu added that the ministry’s verification at Hexi Pharma ended on Wednesday and the report will be ready in approximately two days, but the decision was taken to pull the faulty products from the market. “Their withdrawal has to take place immediately, there are documents that will be seized from the unit,” the secretary of state said. He pointed out that the company has been fined RON 40,000.
Government decrees harsher punishment for misinformation on biocides
The Government has decided on Wednesday harsher punishments, including fines between 35,000 and 50,000 lei for misinformation on biocides content and concentration levels, amid investigations on hospital disinfectants.
Considering the serious consequences of the quality of biocides, the minor offence of false statement was introduced, and clearer lines were drawn between minor and major offences, government spokesman Dan Suciu announced.
He explained that the relevant government decision allows modifications of the order on biocide marketing, which currently involves two tests in authorized laboratories.
Hexi Pharma apologises, announces factory’s shutdown
Following the results announced on Wednesday, Hexi Pharma publicly apologised to doctors, medical staff and all persons that were or could have been affected by these irregularities.
“On behalf of all Hexi Pharma employees, we want the culprits found as soon as possible. All products will be withdrawn as soon as possible, the plant and company have already suspended their activity and have started the legal procedures for shutdown. Likewise, we apologise to the mass-media but, as a result of the start of the criminal probe, we were forbidden, starting on Tuesday, to make any more press statements,” a company communiqué shows.
New hearings in diluted disinfectants case
Hexi Pharma general manager Flori Dinu was heard on Wednesday in a case in which prosecutors are probing the use of diluted disinfectants in hospitals.
Flori Dinu arrived at the General Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday accompanied by her lawyer, in order to be heard in the case in which the use of diluted disinfectants in hospitals is being investigated.
Hexi Pharma owner Dan Condrea was heard on Tuesday in the same case.
Prosecutors announced a week ago that they started to investigate “the hindering of combating diseases” and “the counterfeiting of foodstuffs or other products” in the hospital disinfectants case.
Last week, prosecutors opened a criminal case based on public information on disinfectants produced by Hexi Pharma. A criminal investigation was initiated for the offences of hindering the combating of disease and counterfeiting or substituting foodstuffs or other products.
Last Saturday, investigators conducted searches at Hexi Pharma headquarters and outlets, as well as at 25 healthcare units in 21 counties and Bucharest, where they seized samples and documents. On the same day, prosecutors conducted searches at Dan Condrea’s home.
Following press information on diluted disinfectants believed to have been used in Romanian hospitals, Health Minister Patriciu Achimas-Cadariu resigned.
Hexi Pharma files for insolvency
Hexi Pharma Co. SRL, a Romanian pharmaceutical company involved in a recent scandal of faulty hospital disinfectants, has filed for insolvency with the Bucharest Tribunal.
According to the courts’ web portal, the application was filed on Tuesday and it regards bankruptcy upon debtor’s request under Article 66 of Law 85/2004 on insolvency prevention and insolvency procedures.
The first hearing of the trial was set for May 17.
The insolvency application was filed on the same day when Hexi Pharma owner Dan Condrea was heard at the General Prosecutor’s Office.
DNA Chief: “We are investigating cases that concern public healthcare system procurements”
Asked whether the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) is currently investigating Hexi Pharma’s activity and tenders, Laura Codruta Kovesi stated that the institution she leads is not investigating a company in particular.
“We are investigating cases that concern public healthcare system procurements, I can’t confirm the names of the companies or products because these are pending cases. I can tell you that certain public healthcare system procurements are being verified at the DNA. When we are able to reveal names of persons or companies we will do so,” the DNA’s Chief Prosecutor stated in an interview for ziare.com.
She added that in the last two years healthcare system corruption “represented a priority.”
“We have very many hospital managers, Health Ministry civil servants, including a former secretary of state and former aide to the minister, involved in corruption crimes that concern the procurement of medical equipment, products used in hospitals, drugs. We noticed that certain typologies of committing crimes are repeating in these cases, that is why we sounded the alarm about the importance of prevention. When a pharmaceutical company offers bribe in order to obtain permits to sell a product, the citizen is the one who bears the cost of that bribe. For naught we are using 100 prosecutors to probe the way in which hospitals are procuring products if the methods and procedures are not changed. Investigating, convicting the civil servants who engaged in passive bribery does not solve the hospital’s disinfection, nor does it lower the price of drugs, nor does it offer a guarantee that the corruption crime will not be repeated,” Kovesi pointed out.
“Every year we have new civil servants we investigate for the same kind of crimes,” she said, adding that the DNA does not have prerogatives when it comes to prevention, it only “sounded the alarm.”