LONDON (AP) — British police have charged a drug company over contaminated food given to premature babies after three deaths were reported.
London police said Wednesday that ITH Pharma would face seven counts of supplying a faulty medicinal product and failing to take adequate steps to prevent patients from becoming infected.
The investigation started after three babies died and 20 more needed treatment after contracting septicemia in 2014.
The infants who died were treated at St. Thomas' Hospital in London and Rosie Maternity Hospital in Cambridge.
The police charges are linked to seven premature babies, including the three who died, who received fluid as nutrition because they could not eat on their own between May 27 and June 2, 2014.
Raaid Sakkijha, the father of one of the babies who died, said the family has been living "with an open wound that will not close" since the death of his nine-day-old son Yousef.
The family's lawyer, Arti Shah, said the family "has suffered the worst grief imaginable, knowing that Yousef's death was avoidable."
The infant was born by emergency cesarean section and contracted the deadly blood disease septicemia. His twin brother survived.
The London-based company said in a statement it was "disappointed by the decision to charge the company and will vigorously defend this case."
ITH Pharma said it has "every sympathy for all the families affected regardless of the cause."
It also says the company has excellent environmental monitoring in place and works closely with regulators to assure quality and safety.
Its representatives are due in Westminster Magistrates' Court on Dec. 17.