- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 25, 2009

RALEIGH, N.C.

For months, prosecutors say, technicians in the gloom of a run-down North Carolina plant prepared life-sustaining syringes and shipped them before ensuring they were sterile.

Investigators think a rush to maximize profits led Dushyant Patel’s AM2PAT Inc. to produce heparin and saline syringes that killed five people and sickened hundreds of others, some resulting in spinal meningitis and permanent brain damage. Authorities are now on an international search for Mr. Patel after he was indicted last week on 10 charges, including fraud, false statements and selling adulterated medical devices.

U.S. Attorney George Holding said Tuesday that authorities think Mr. Patel has fled to his native India and have turned to Interpol for cross-border aid in catching up to him.

“Our office is committed to pursuing him and bringing him here to account for his actions,” Mr. Holding said. “We’re putting all resources available to bringing him back here.”

Court documents portray a disturbing recklessness that allowed syringes to ship before they were checked for signs of contamination. Reports detailing the testing were backdated to appear they passed procedure before shipping, and some test results were manipulated or fabricated in an attempt to deceive inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, prosecutors said.

Mr. Patel’s company sold nearly $7 million worth of heparin and saline syringes in 2006-07.

The plant in Angier, about 20 miles south of Raleigh, cut corners so it could maximize profit, including shipping products as quickly as possible without checking on safety, according to court documents.

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