Investigation of Deaths Linked to Heparin Use
The FDA is investigating deaths of two Delaware hospital patients that may be linked to the use of the anti-coagulating drug heparin. The FDA is also investigating life-threatening complications in other patients of the same hospital. In total, 5 patients who were administered heparin suffered complications. An independent laboratory is conducting the investigation. The official cause of the complications is unknown.
Baxter International manufactures the commonly used blood thinner, which has had issues with its safety track record. Last year, Baxter issued a recall on heparin. Though not known at this time, company officials believe that the bulk materials used in the heparin involved in Delaware cases came from North American-based Pfizer, unlike the bulk materials involved the tainted heparin from 2008’s recall, which came from China. Heparin’s composition is largely derived from pig intestines, which is why China is a large supplier, as it is a major pork producer. Baxter claims that the recall resulted from the use of an adulterated product, referred to as oversulfated chondroitin sulfate, which came from a Chinese supplier. Baxter is based in Deerfield,
The contaminant found in the heparin recalled in 2008 has not been found in the heparin used by the Delaware patients. Baxter’s vast 2008 recall involved a form of the drug distributed in vials and occurred after numerous complications were linked to it, including complications suffered by Dennis Quaid and Kimberly Buffington’s newborn twins. The heparin involved in the Delaware cases is distributed via a different method than the heparin involved in last year’s recall.
For more information please see: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/chi-tc-biz-brf-heparin-0512may12,0,2613571.story