Drug execs charged in Nigeria child deaths

Feb. 16, 2011 at 11:02 AM

KADUNA, Nigeria, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Nigerian drug executives are facing homicide charges over a baby teething drug that authorities say killed 23 children.

Managing director Adeyemo Abiodun and five other executives of Barewa Pharmaceuticals appeared in High Court in the northern state of Kaduna on charges of criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide, the Nigerian Tribune reported Wednesday.

Prosecutor Gamaliel Kore said the defendants conspired in 2008 to make a contaminated drug called My Pikin that was sold to unsuspecting parents in Kaduna. He said they had reason to know it could be lethal.

The executives pleaded not guilty, and their attorney said the court lacked jurisdiction to try the conspiracy count since the drugs were manufactured in Lagos. He also said there were no medical reports and death certificates to support the claims.

Justice Gideon Kurada struck the first charge for lack of jurisdiction, granted bail and set a hearing on the homicide charge for April 21. The defendants face similar charges in Lagos.

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