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Teva Stops Distributing Drugs from Suspect Factory in France

Several people died or have been hospitalized in serious condition after taking a drug that was released inadvertently in the packing of medicine treating pulmonary edema.
A Teva systems engineer watching over the packaging line of pharmaceuticals at the Jerusalem factory. A possible system failure in the French factory may have caused several deaths and hospitalizations.

A Teva systems engineer watching over the packaging line of pharmaceuticals at the Jerusalem factory. A possible system failure in the French factory may have caused several deaths and hospitalizations.
Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi /Flash90

The Israel-based pharmaceutical Teva decided to stop the marketing of all drugs from its factory in France Reshet Bet reported. The decision was made in coordination with the French Ministry of Health due to reports that some people died or were hospitalized in serious condition after taking sleeping pills that Teva accidentally sold in packaging of a drug to treat pulmonary edema.

The case involves Zopiclone, which was mistakenly sold in packaging for Furosemide. Teva says that the error was discovered by a pharmacist, after a patient who took the medication suffered from unusual sleepiness. A test found that the incident involved two problematic packages, which the company recalled.

Reports from Paris say that two more women, 89- and 100-years-old, died after taking the drug manufactured by Teva.

On Tuesday, the French Drugs Authority reported that France has completed the factory audit of Teva and did not find any institutional failure or irregularities in pharmaceutical manufacturing or packing.

Teva’s initial statement on Sunday said: “This is a local incident that is limited to France only. Based on our initial findings, the problem is limited to two batches of the product. With regard to the news of death of an elderly person from Marseille, France, we are currently conducting an inquiry to check whether a direct link can be established between this unfortunate death and our product.”

Now, despite what appears like a clean bill of health from French government inspectors, and the company’s assertion that the problem was local and limited, they’ve shut down their French operation.

Yesterday, apparently despite its French problems, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYSE:TEVA) was upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy, with the following statement:

“The company’s strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.”

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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