Men sentenced in deadly syringe case

RALEIGH Plant manager, 54-year-old Aniruddha Patel of Richmond, Va., and quality control director, 43-year-old Ravindra Kumar Sharma worked for AM2PAT, Inc.

U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle sentenced the men in a Raleigh federal court room Monday.

Patel and Sharma pleaded guilty to complaints that charge them with conspiring to commit a number of federal offenses including mail fraud, submitting false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the United States Government, and knowingly sending misbranded medical devices into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud.

During their time at AM2PAT, Inc., the company manufactured syringes pre-filled with saline and heparin.

The syringes were labeled improperly as sterile and then shipped from a facility in Angier, N.C.

The drugs weren't produced at the plant but were loaded into syringes there and shipped to hospitals and clinics.

The court said packages were often backdated so that the products appeared to have undergone sterility testing.

As a result of the fraud, between 200 and 300 patients around the country developed bacterial infections after being inject with AM2PAT syringes.

Illnesses from the tainted products caused spinal meningitis, permanent brain damage or death to some patients.

Authorities say they are still looking for AM2PAT's CEO, Dushyant Patel, who may have fled to India.

Syringes from the company were removed from the market last year and the Angier plant was closed following a bacterial infection in Colorado, Texas, Illinois and Florida.

No cases were reported in North Carolina.

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