Manufacturer Suggests Heparin Contamination Intentional

April 30, 2008 02:11 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The CEO of the company that produces the blood thinner told Congress yesterday that the drug was deliberately tainted, likely by Chinese suppliers.

30-Second Summary

Over the past 16 months, 81 deaths and 1,000 injuries have been connected to tainted heparin products, a medication that prevents blood from clotting.

During a congressional hearing aimed at revealing how the contaminated drug made its way to U.S. patients, the CEO of heparin maker Baxter International said yesterday that “the company appears to have been the target of a ‘deliberate adulteration scheme,’ likely by suppliers in China,” reports the Chicago Tribune.

Members of Congress responded by criticizing the company and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, calling for increased funding and reform at the agency.

Kelly Hills at Women’s Bioethics Blog agrees, saying that the public “needs to step up and stop accepting the excuses of the FDA and demand reform—and we need to demand a very different sort of relationship with China and the goods we import from them.”

In fact, this isn’t the first time Chinese suppliers have been implicated in the contamination of medicine.

Last year, an industrial solvent from China was used to make cough syrup and other medicines, resulting in the deaths of 51 people in Panama. Although Panamanian officials said that Chinese exporters had used a confusing name for the chemical, Chinese officials charged that a Panamanian importer altered paperwork to say it was safe for human consumption.

However, China isn’t the only place with pharmaceutical problems. A recent Associated Press analysis found that pieces of metal and flecks of paint have made their way into pill bottles from pharmaceutical plants in Puerto Rico.

Headline Link: Heparin contamination may be intentional

Opinion & Analysis: FDA’s competence questioned

Related Topic: Tainted drugs

Reference: Heparin and findingDulcinea’s Health Web Guide


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