Under fire, Thermo Fisher defends its antibiotic test kits

LONDON Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:30pm EST

LONDON Feb 13 (Reuters) - Thermo Fisher Scientific said it had total confidence in its antibiotic test kits, after an investigation published in a medical journal alleged they did not always contain the right amount of antibiotic.

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) said in a report published on Wednesday that Thermo Fisher's British-based Oxoid unit had been selling flawed antimicrobial susceptibility test (AST) discs.

AST discs, which contain specified amounts of antibiotics, are used in hospitals worldwide to see if a particular infection will respond to a particular drug. After being swabbed with a sample, a clear zone forms in areas where the drugs are working.

The BMJ said internal documents provided by a whistleblower showed that batches of the discs had been released which did not contain the correct amount of drug and sometimes no drug at all.

The company said it completely disagreed with the BMJ article, adding that an independent investigator had studied similar concerns raised by an employee at the time he left the company in 2008 and had found them to be without merit.

U.S.-based Thermo Fisher is the world's largest maker of laboratory equipment.

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