Pharmacy execs indicted after babies allegedly get 'super-potent' drugs

A vile of morphine sulfate, shown here in a file photo, is among the drugs that federal officials allege was shipped by Pharmakon Pharmaceuticals with an erroneous label, then administered to patients, who got sick because of it.

Story highlights

  • Painkiller was 25 times stronger than label stated, officials say
  • FDA: Babies suffered "serious adverse effects"

(CNN)Two compounding pharmacy executives are facing federal charges for allegedly failing to recall "super-potent" painkillers that in one case sickened babies at an Indiana hospital, officials said.

Paul J. Elmer, 64, owner of Pharmakon Pharmaceuticals, and Caprice R. Bearden, 62, the company's director of compliance, were indicted Thursday on 10 charges involving drugs that were labeled as far more or far less potent than their actual strength, the Justice Department said.
Hospitals in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland and Virginia received mislabeled doses of pain relievers including fentanyl, morphine sulfate and midalozam, the powerful sedative often used for anesthesia and in some states in lethal injection. Elmer and Bearden failed to tell the clients or the Federal Drug Administration about the mistakes, the indictment states.