The Romanian Intelligence Service has warned authorities of the nosocomial infections in hospitals through more than 500 reports over the last five years but Romanian officials have ignored the alarm signals. Acting President Klaus Iohannis, PM Dacian Ciolos, former President Traian Basescu and ex PM Victor Ponta, along with the Minister of Health, particularly informed of Hexi Pharma threat, are among the highest ranking recipients of the SRI notes. An investigation has been launched into allegations over the poor quality of Romanian medical products after a team of journalists voiced concern three weeks ago. Once first evidence came out on May 12 it was confirmed that about 50 Romanian hospitals had been plagued by lax safety standards using diluted disinfectants up to ten or even 4,200 times than labeled to clean medical equipment, doctors’ hands and environmental surfaces. The faulty products were delivered by Romanian company Hexi Pharma which has been selling diluted disinfectants to about 350 local hospitals for years. Moreover, the drug company was to expand to neighboring countries dealing with Bulgaria where it had delivered the same sub-standard disinfectants at 24 blood donation centers in more than 10 cities.
Last week’s analyses unveiled some of the picked-up samples from Calarasi, Brasov and Mures County hospitals on Hexi Pharma diluted biocides were found unsafe. An ethanol substance had 42 percent concentration on the product’s tag, but the lab tests showed only 0,01 percent, meaning 4,200 times weaker. Other lots revealed the propanol substance was diluted up to 2,800 times, according to the Institute for Research and Development in Chemistry and Petrochemistry estimates. Romania has not setup yet a licensed lab to determine the composition of medical products.
The news of the high diluted disinfectants has spread across Romania sowing fear over unsafe medical care amid increasing criticism of authorities. Following the scandal, Health Minister Patriciu Achimas Cadariu resigned on May 9 and all Hexi Pharma products were withdrawn from hospitals on May 12. Romanian prosecutors have charged the pharmaceutical company of failing to combat diseases while Hexi Pharma closed its door to all employees and filed for insolvency on May 10, request that abandoned one week later. The staff has publicly expressed regret after initially denied any wrongdoing.
In the aftermath of the crisis patients were angry on officials and medical system putting their lives at high risk while many doctors have complained of crocodile-like skin after the using of hand disinfectants. Responding to the worries, some of the hospital managers have blamed the legislation that forced them to purchase the cheapest products although quality should have come first. Others said they would file for a civil case against Hexi Pharma. According to the law, the firm would have been removed if the required epidemiological tests had turned positive, meaning the products were incapable of killing dangerous hospital bacteria, and forwarded to the Ministry of Health.
The investigation came to light at the end of last month after the Sports Gazette newspaper had tracked a link between disinfectants and infections originating in hospitals that affected the victims of a nightclub fire in which 64 people had died.