Officers investigating the deaths of babies at several hospitals, including St Thomas’, charged a pharmaceuticals company which had allegedly supplied a contaminated feed last Wednesday.
ITH Pharma, based in north London, was charged with seven counts of supplying a medicinal product which was not of the nature or quality specified in the prescription.
It has also been charged with failing to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that patients were not infected by contaminants, in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act, between 1 August 2009 and 1 June 2014.
However the company has pledged to “vigorously” defend the case.
An investigation was launched by Scotland Yard after three babies died in 2014, including nine-day-old Yousef Al Kharboush on June 1 2014.
Yousef and his twin brother Abdulilah were born prematurely in May 2014, and were fed intravenously on a fluid provided by ITH.
Yousef later contracted fatal blood poisoning, allegedly as a result of the contaminated feed. His twin was not affected.
Another baby died in St Thomas’ hospital on June 10, and a third at a hospital in Cambridge.
The four-year investigation only established that Yousef’s death was directly linked to the contaminated feed.
Yousef’s father Raaid Sakkijha said: “It has been like living with an open wound that will not close.
“We have found it impossible to move on while the case is ongoing, I am not sure that we will ever come to terms with what happened.
“We never celebrate events such as Yousef’s brother’s birthday because it is too painful a reminder of what we’ve lost.”
The company responded to the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision in a statement, saying: “As founders of ITH we have every sympathy for all the families affected, regardless of the cause.
“However, we are disappointed by the decision to charge the company and will vigorously defend this case. It would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.”
“Since 2008, ITH has manufactured more than 1.4-million components of total parental nutrition and is the sole commercial supplier of reactive feeding solutions to the NHS.
“This product has helped thousands of extremely vulnerable infants survive premature and complex births.
“ITH imposes rigorous environmental monitoring on its manufacturing process. The company has always had a strong relationship with the MHRA and continues to receive exemplary ratings for quality and safety.”
A spokesperson from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust told the News: “Our heartfelt sympathies are with the family of Yousef Al-Kharboush after what they have been through.
“We supported the parents at the time of Yousef’s death, and worked closely with Public Health England and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency as we were one of six trusts involved in their wider investigation.
“Now that the Met Police have charged ITH Pharma Ltd in relation to this case it would be inappropriate to comment further.”