Pharmaceutical firm pleads guilty to waste offences


PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY Wyeth is to be sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court in relation to its waste-management practices after yesterday pleading guilty to a number of offences.

AHP Manufacturing Bv, trading as Wyeth Medica Ireland, pleaded guilty through its financial director Tim Brosnan to two counts that on dates in 2000 and 2001 that it disposed of or recovered waste materials by means of a company which was not an agreed hazardous waste contractor.

Wyeth Medica Ireland, based in Newbridge, Co Kildare, further pleaded guilty to shipping waste out of the State without a certificate; and being the consignors of waste, in the course of transferring hazardous waste, engaged an agent who mixed hazardous waste with non-hazardous waste on dates in 2001.

Judge Patricia Ryan set a sentence date of July 26th when full facts will be heard.

The company had been charged with 18 offences arising out of the export of the waste product of medroxyprogesterone acetate, a contraceptive drug.

The case came to light in May 2002 when pig farmers in the Netherlands noticed that their sows were infertile.

The source of the infertility was traced back to waste water from Wyeth’s Newbridge plant, which was exported, recycled and then processed into treacle to be fed to pigs.

Some 55,000 pigs were slaughtered, while half of the 7,000 pig farmers in the Netherlands were forced to close their businesses temporarily.

Cara Environmental Technology Ltd is also facing charges relating to the same issue.

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer took over Wyeth last year in a $68 billion deal.