updated 7/5/2007 10:28:47 AM ET 2007-07-05T14:28:47

A top Panamanian prosecutor said tests show at least 94 people have died from taking medicine contaminated with diethylene glycol since July 2006 and that 293 more deaths are under investigation.

  1. Don't miss these Health stories
    1. Splash News
      More women opting for preventive mastectomy - but should they be?

      Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a 100 percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

    2. Larry Page's damaged vocal cords: Treatment comes with trade-offs
    3. Report questioning salt guidelines riles heart experts
    4. CDC: 2012 was deadliest year for West Nile in US
    5. What stresses moms most? Themselves, survey says

Prosecutor Dimas Guevara told The Associated Press on Wednesday that people have continued to die this year even though the tainted medicine was pulled from shelves in October, with some struggling for months before dying.

Previously Panamanian authorities had confirmed only 51 deaths from the medicine.

A chemical commonly found in antifreeze and brake fluid, diethylene glycol was used in cough syrup, antihistamine tablets, calamine lotion and rash ointment made in a Panama government laboratory.

Investigations revealed the chemical was made by a Chinese company that fraudulently passed it off as 99.5 percent pure glycerin, a sweetener commonly used in drugs, to a Spanish company. That company sold it to Panama’s Medicom SA, which sold it to a government laboratory.

Panamanian officials also exhumed the corpses of victims who died last year and conducted forensic tests that revealed they had been killed by the medicines.

The 293 suspected cases were brought to the police by family members, but the causes of death have not yet been confirmed by forensic tests, Guevara said.

Three Medicom executives are being held in prison, charged with crimes against public health in connection with the deaths.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments