Cologne pharmacy employees under investigation for 'negligent homicide'

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Cologne pharmacy employees under investigation for 'negligent homicide'
The Heilig-Geist-Apoteke in Cologne. Photo: DPA

After the death of a pregnant woman and her baby in Cologne, who died after taking a poisonous glucose preparation, the public prosecutor's office is now investigating two employees of a pharmacy.


In Cologne, the public prosecutor's office has started investigations into two employees of the Heilig-Geist-Apotheke.

It comes after a pregnant woman and her newborn baby died last month after consuming a glucose mixture, supposed to be part of a routine diabetes test.

READ ALSO: Mother and baby die after taking medicine from Cologne pharmacy

"The accused have given information about their activities and the organizational procedures in the pharmacy in very extensive interrogations,” announced senior public prosecutor Ulrich Bremer on Friday. 

Both employees are now being investigated for negligent homicide, said Bremer, or that the contamination is due to an accident rather than intent. 

The toxic substance - lidocaine hydrochloride - was stored in a very similar container to glucose. 

"There is no evidence that leads in the direction of intent," said Bremer.

Pharmacies allowed to reopen

It is still unclear how the toxic substance was able to enter the preparation, said Bremer.

The city of Cologne had temporarily closed all three pharmacies run by the same operator following instructions of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the Regional Council.

In the meantime, the three pharmacies of the operator have been allowed to reopen. Producing their own medicine, however, remains forbidden, the German Ministry of Health communicated to Cologne on Friday. 

Production will remain prohibited until measures have been taken to prevent such contamination in the future, said Bremer.


Organizational procedures - (die) Organisationsabläufen

negligent - fahrlässig

toxic mixture - (der) toxische Stoff

container/jar - (das) Gefäß

intent/purpose - (der) Vorsatz

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