Stories about heparin make me sick

All these stories in the news about contaminated heparin and related deaths have been making me sick to my stomach. Sarah took heparin shots twice a day throughout her pregnancy, and we are thankful for all of the medical help she had prior to delivering Oliver. However, this news is alarming.

So now the feds are saying that, perhaps, the contamination was intentional. OMG, I smell a class-action lawsuit. And I’m ready to sign up as a plaintiff.

Here are a few details from an article in today’s New York Times:

Federal drug regulators believe that a contaminant detected in a crucial blood thinner that has caused 81 deaths was added deliberately, something the Food and Drug Administration has only hinted at previously.

“F.D.A.’s working hypothesis is that this was intentional contamination, but this is not yet proven,” Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s drug center, told the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in written testimony given Tuesday.

A third of the material in some batches of the thinner heparin were contaminants, “and it does strain one’s credulity to suggest that might have been done accidentally,” Dr. Woodcock said.

And more from that same article:

David G. Strunce, chief executive of Scientific Protein Laboratories, the company that supplied contaminated heparin material to Baxter International, which manufactured and distributed the finished drug, described the contamination as “an insidious act” that “seems to us an intentional act upstream in the supply chain.”

The F.D.A. has identified Changzhou SPL, a Chinese subsidiary of Scientific Protein Laboratories, as the source of the contaminated heparin. A Congressional investigator said the contaminant, oversulfated chondroitin sulfate, cost $9 a pound compared with $900 a pound for heparin.

Mr. Strunce said that his company tried to find the original source of the contamination but was stopped by the Chinese authorities.


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