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Two die at Delaware hospital after taking heparin

Posted by Frank Spector | May 12, 2009 | 0 Comments

The Wall Street Journal (5/12, Mundy, et al.) reports, “Two Delaware patients died last weekend after taking heparin, a widely used blood thinner made by Baxter International Inc., sparking concerns about a repeat of fatal heparin contamination in 2008.” Baxter said that “the heparin involved in the cases of the two patients who died is from North American-derived bulk material supplied by Pfizer Inc. In the heparin deaths last year, the bulk material came from China.” Now Baxter and the FDA have “sent medical teams to Delaware, and an FDA agent drove samples of the heparin bags directly to an agency laboratory in Queens, New York.”

The FDA “said the situation ‘appears to be an isolated incident,' agency spokeswoman Karen Riley said this afternoon,” the Chicago Tribune (5/12, Japsen) reports. At Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, Del., where the deaths occurred, heparin use has been suspended. “Adverse reactions were reported in five patients who had problems that included internal bleeding in the brain.” The New York Times /AP (5/12, A15) adds that “a Baxter spokeswoman said the company had not received reports from any other institutions regarding heparin but was working with Beebe and the FDA.”

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Frank Spector

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