Olympus Corp. said Tuesday it was fined $85 million after admitting failure to report to U.S. authorities infections connected to its duodenum endoscopes in a plea deal reached with the U.S. Justice Department.
In the agreement, Olympus admitted it did not report to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration three separate cases of infections, including E. coli bacteria, affecting some 30 patients in France and the Netherlands between August 2012 and October 2014.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, of which Kyodo News is a partner, said last month that over 190 "superbug" infections following the use of Olympus duodenum endoscopes were reported in Europe and the United States between 2012 and 2015.
The lawsuits filed by patients in the United States seeking compensation over infections are set to continue, with Olympus asserting that the duodenum endoscopes are safe to use if they are sterilized and cleaned properly according to manuals.
Olympus, which has a share of more than 70 percent in the global market for gastrointestinal endoscopes, booked some 9.65 billion yen ($85 million) as lawsuit-related costs in its earnings report for the half year through September this year.
The major Japanese optical equipment maker said its profit outlook for the current fiscal year through March 2019 is unchanged. Its medical business, including endoscopes, accounts for nearly 80 percent of the company's total consolidated sales.