Bild: Keystone
Bild: Keystone
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Local News Summary of January, 14th

  • Three Swiss hospitals need to pay fine because of rusty and bent equipment
  • Drunk driver on drugs caught in Rheinfelden (Germany)

Three Swiss hospitals need to pay fine because of rusty and bent equipment

The Agency for Therapeutic Products has fined three Swiss hospitals – the university hospitals of Zurich and Basel as well as the cantonal hospital of St Gallen – for buying medical products from Pakistan which turned out to be defective. The three hospitals did not inform the supervising authority (Swissmedic) about the defective products despite a legal obligation to do so. Because the hospitals did not report this problem immediately, the hospital management "severely violated their reporting obligations", according to a spokesperson for Swissmedic. Swissmedic spokesperson Danièle Bersier on Saturday confirmed a story by the “Tages-Anzeiger” central staff on the request of the sda news agency. Among the faulty products were cannulas for infant heart surgery, and suction cannulas. They were partly rusty or bent; parts broke off or they contained metal splinters. The products were from Pakistan and sold by a company in the canton of Zug.

Zug company in liquidation 

Swissmedic staff discovered that the hospitals had received the products during a search of the Zug company's premises. At the beginning of 2017, the supervising authority opened criminal cases against the three hospitals. In July, they were each fined 5,000 Swiss francs. If it happens again, the hospitals could be fined up to 50,000 francs. A spokesperson for the University Hospital of Zurich (USZ) told the sda media agency that the potential danger of the faulty cannulas had been discovered very quickly, there had been no further use of the instruments, and the seller had been informed. No patients had suffered any harm from the use of these products, the spokesperson assured.

However, the hospital “refrained” from informing Swissmedic about their findings: “The departments concerned at the USZ made wrong assumptions regarding their reporting obligations,” according to Swissmedic.  The hospital management is taking such situations as an opportunity to "reconsider its internal processes and the knowledge levels of its staff." The University Hospital of Basel (USB) also stopped using the faulty equipment as soon as the defects were noticed, and reported this problem to the seller, a spokesperson said on request. It was “by accident”, however, that Swissmedic was not informed about the situation, “which would have been our obligation”, the spokesperson said. The hospital therefore was rightfully fined, they added. Prior to the case, the USB had already taken profound care to inform all personnel about their reporting obligations, a spokesperson said. There had been no danger to any patient because of the faulty instruments, they insisted. Swissmedic has also launched investigations against the responsible parties within the Zug company. According to the online source Moneyhouse, the company is in the process of liquidation.

Drunk driver on drugs caught in Rheinfelden (Germany)

A drunk-driver who was pulled over in Rheinfelden on Friday night also admitted to being under the influence of drugs, according to police. Officers stopped the Opal Corsa on the German side of the town at around 7pm to conduct a random breath test on the driver, who was "strongly inebriated", according to the police. The test result revealed a blood-alcohol level of 1,72 per mille.  The police say the man also admitted to be under the influence of amphetamines and cannabis. The police took a blood sample and confiscated his driving license before allowing the man to continue his journey - on foot.