Houston, TX – A former CEO of PharmaTech, a Florida pharmaceutical manufacturing company, was sentenced to 37 months in prison for his role in hiding the contamination of medication produced at the Florida based plant. Raidel Figueroa co-owned the company from 2016 to 2017, when the contaminated Diocto liquid was manufactured and distributed. The laxative/stool softening product is suspected to be involved in several instances where individuals contracted a Burkholderia Cepacia infection after allegedly using the product. The bacteria thrives in soil and water and is transmissible through contaminated medication. Its infections can lead to respiratory issues and illnesses for individuals with chronic lung disease and weak immune systems, among other conditions.
After the FDA received several complaints from consumers who developed infections using the Diocto liquid, PharmaTech LLC and Rugby Laboratories announced a voluntary recall of the product. The FDA investigated the outbreak by inspecting the company’s operations before notifying Figueroa in August 2016 that a sample from their water system had tested positive for B. Cepacia. Figueroa assured the FDA that PharmaTech would re-engineer its purified water system to prevent future contaminations. During a re-inspection in March 2017, Figueroa lied to the FDA investigators by knowingly excluding manufactured Diocto liquid from the products distribution list after the supposed water system upgrade. He also lied by telling the FDA that the new water system had met acceptance criteria.
Following this revelation, the CDC notified the FDA of multiple B. Cepacia infections in pediatric patients at Stanford Children’s Health – Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore. The FDA investigated the claims by collecting bottles of Diocto liquid which contained several unacceptable amounts of mold, bacteria, and yeast. The investigation revealed that PharmaTech had distributed some bottles that tested positive for B. Cepacia in March 2017, information Figueroa failed to disclose. In June 2022, Raidel Figueroa pled guilty to conspiring to defraud the FDA, obstructing proceedings before the FDA, distributing adulterated drugs, and falsifying records in an FDA investigation.
Attorneys Tommy Hastings of the Hastings Law Firm in Texas and Howard Grossman of Grossman Attorneys at Law in Florida were co-counsel on three separate product liability and wrongful death claims against PharmaTech. They settled three cases out of court where the contaminated Diocto drug killed infants. Two of the families represented by the attorneys appeared before the Florida courts as witnesses against Raidel Figueroa in his criminal case.
Following the conviction, Attorney Tommy Hastings said:
“Our firm proudly represented the King, Manuel, and Jenkins families as they sought justice for losing their babies due to contaminated Diocto. They have spent five years fighting the consequences of Mr. Figueroa’s and others’ greed. It was fitting that Mrs. King and Mrs. Manuel addressed the Court before Mr. Figueroa’s sentencing. Hearing the stories of their lost children was moving and heartbreaking.”
Attorney Howard Grossman stated:
“We were honored to be local co-counsel in Broward County Circuit Court and to work with Tommy Hastings of the Hastings Law Firm to bring justice for the parents of three families whose infants died due to poisoning by an adulterated pharmaceutical product manufactured by a local, now defunct manufacturer.”
Hastings Law Firm advises individuals or loved ones possessing the Diocto liquid to discontinue its use immediately. PharmaTech LLC and Rugby Laboratories have started identifying individuals/entities/institutions who may have come into possession of potentially contaminated products to provide instructions for returning them to the manufacturers.
However, individuals diagnosed with a B. Cepacia infection after using the Diocto liquid may have the legal right to file a lawsuit. The Hastings Law Firm, Medical Malpractice Lawyers, can pursue a claim for medical expenses, hospital bills, past/future lost wages, pain/discomfort, mental anguish, and other economic/non-economic losses. Given the complexity of medical-related lawsuits, the Texas Diocto lawsuit attorneys take time to review medical records, analyze medical reports, examine receipts/empty containers of the Diocto liquid, and conduct additional evaluations to build a case.
To file a medical malpractice claim, visit the law firm’s website or call 346-245-5495. Hastings Law Firm, Medical Malpractice Lawyers, is located at 2200 North Loop W #118, Houston, TX, 77018, US.
Hastings Law Firm, Medical Malpractice Lawyers
2200 North Loop W #118
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Florida Times Daily journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.