Meds and you

30 April 2008

Drug deliberately contaminated?

A drug which has been linked to dozens of deaths may have been deliberately contaminated, says chief of US drug maker Baxter International.

The chief of US drug maker Baxter International said Tuesday its blood thinner heparin produced in China, which has been linked to dozens of deaths, appears to have been deliberately contaminated.

"We are greatly concerned that our heparin products appear to be the target of a deliberate adulteration scheme," Baxter chief executive Robert Parkinson said in prepared remarks to a US Congress panel.

"Patient safety is our number one priority, and we deeply regret the impact this contamination in Baxter's heparin has had on patients," he told a subpanel of the House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee.

At least 82 deaths
At least 82 deaths from allergic reactions, have been reported to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since January 2007.

The FDA has identified the toxic substance as a synthetic compound called oversulfated chondroitin sulphate (OSCS).

Heparin, a blood thinner used by millions of patients during kidney dialysis and heart surgery to prevent blood clots, is normally produced from pig intestines.

FDA officials have said the contaminated batches came from factories in China that make the drug for Baxter International, which recalled its heparin in February after dozens of deaths in the United States were reported.

US health authorities said Chinese companies have also supplied contaminated heparin to Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand. – (Sapa-AFP)

Read more:
Heparin recall tip of the iceberg
Affected Heparin in 10 countries

April 2008


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