French Prosecutors Open Probe at Teva Plant After Deaths

Paris prosecutors opened an investigation into drug packaging mistakes at a Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) plant in Sens, in north-central France, which may have killed six people.

The preliminary inquiry was opened today, Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutors’ office, said in a telephone interview. The six deaths could be linked to the erroneous packaging, she said.

A sleeping pill was accidentally put in boxes labeled for the hypertension generic furosemide, newspapers Le Monde and Le Figaro reported this week. A recall is underway and Petach Tikva, Israel-based Teva said yesterday it’s suspended shipments from the Sens plant.

France’s health-care regulator has found no evidence of problems in the organization and practices at the Sens plant or its equipment during an inspection of the facility, the National Medicine Security Agency said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

The company is continuing its internal investigation into the matter and has started opening, under a court bailiff’s supervision, blister packs of furosemide, Teva said in an e-mailed statement today. So far, the inspection has found no Zopiclone sleeping tablets inside the furosemide blisters, Teva said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Albertina Torsoli in Paris at atorsoli@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kristen Hallam at khallam@bloomberg.net

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