Heparin In Trouble Again


Heparin is in the news again. It should never have been out of the news. Are these recent problems a continuation of last year’s heparin expose? Perhaps, but don’t expect confirmation from Baxter Healthcare Corporation, the blood thinner’s manufacturer.

Our law firm is dedicated to seeking justice for victims of contaminated heparin use resulting in severe adverse reactions or death. Accountability is our utmost concern.

Heparin is an intravenous drug used by dialysis patients and those needing cardiac and other surgeries. It thins the blood to prevent clots. Hundreds of thousands of our sickest people rely on this drug to keep them alive. One does not ponder the risk of side effects or incomprehensively, contamination when there are few options.

A spokesperson for Baxter claims the premixed bags involved this year are not part of last year’s product recall Supposedly, the company has received a troubling report from only one medical institution, Beebe Medical Center in Delaware, who announced last Friday that at least five patients had adverse ‘patient outcomes’ associated with heparin.

Officials from Beebe have suspended the use of heparin products and other patients are being closely monitored. Wally Hudson, vice president of Beebe’s corporate affairs, stated, “The patients affected experienced internal bleeding. We started to see it overnight Thursday”. The patients were transported to other facilities and the bags’ contents will be tested. He continued, “I’m not saying these were tainted bags of medicine. What I am saying is we’ve had some unusual patient outcomes and (the heparin seems to be) the common denominator.”

Besides Baxter Healthcare Corporation, the FDA and Delaware Health Care Operations Center were also notified.

Heparin woes surfaced last year when it was linked to several deaths and hundreds of life-threatening adverse reactions. It is another prime example of poor government oversight, profits over safety, and Chinese involvement.

Over the past ten years, the risk of drug contamination has been the primary issue facing the FDA and pharmaceutical industry. The number of overseas facilities producing American drugs proliferated during the Bush Administration…. so quickly that it was dubious whether any of those plants would be inspected by the FDA. Future heparin recipients were at an even greater risk.

In sworn testimony to Congress, Baxter’s CEO alluded that the company should have known better than to delegate the safety of such a pharmaceutical to the Chinese. He professed regret and responsibility since Baxter’s name was on the product.

Obviously, the company did not consider the ramifications—or care. Chinese drywall? Tainted baby formula and dog food? Lead contained painted toys? Why would anyone assume the Chinese could produce a safe intravenous drug?

They did not. Our critically ill people received a Chinese manufactured product containing a toxin, which was a poison for many. Although we don’t know the exact strength of the venom, we do know that this poisoning was one of the most wide spread in history and that all deaths of those taking heparin since September 2008, should be investigated.

The FDA recalled heparin in 2008. Is this happening again?