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Indian drugmaker to pay $50mn fine, forfeiture for irregularities

New York, Feb 10 (IANS) A cancer drugmaker in India has admitted to destroying and concealing records before an inspection of its plant in West Bengal by US authorities and agreed to pay $50 million in fines and forfeitures, according to the Justice Department.

The admission made by Fresenius Kabi Oncology Limited (FKOL) was made public in the federal court in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Tuesday, the Department said.

The company admitted that it was guilty of the charge of violating the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act by failing to provide certain records to US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigators and would pay a criminal fine of $30 million and $20 million in forfeitures, according to the Department.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton said: “FKOL’s conduct put vulnerable patients at risk.

“By hiding and deleting manufacturing records, FKOL sought to obstruct the FDA’s regulatory authority and prevent the FDA from doing its job of ensuring the purity and potency of drugs intended for US consumers.”

The Department acknowledged the help of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, saying it “provided invaluable assistance to US authorities in the investigation of this matter”.

Just before an FDA inspection of its manufacturing facility in Kalyani, West Bengal, in 2013, the drugmaker “management directed employees to remove certain records from the premises and delete other records from computers that would have revealed FKOL was manufacturing drug ingredients in contravention of FDA requirements”, according to court documents.

Its employees removed computers, hardcopy documents, and other materials from the premises and deleted spreadsheets that had evidence of the plant’s violations, according to court documents.

The Department said that at the Kalyani plant, FKOL made active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) used in various cancer drug products distributed in the US.

FKOL appears to have connections to a German multinational company although it is listed on the National Stock Exchange in India.

A “warning letter” was sent by the FDA on December 4, 2017, about the findings f an FDA inspection that year of the FKOL’s Kalyani plant to Mats Henrikkson, the CEO of Fresenius Kabi in Bad Homburg, Germany.

According to the company history on FKOL’s website, it began as a part of Dabur Pharma and in 2008, “the Burman family, promoters of the Dabur Pharma Group, divested its entire stake in Dabur Pharma Ltd. to Fresenius Kabi, a business segment of Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA, a German Multinational with business interests across the globe”.

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