Friday, Oct 31st

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Was the heparin contamination delibrate?

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This is pretty disturbing.  The FDA is hinting that the recent drug contamination of heparin was delibrate, and possibly for economic reasons.

Federal drug regulators believe that a contaminant detected in a crucial blood thinner that has caused 81 deaths was added deliberately,...


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.

Two weeks ago, Food and Drug Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach told a Senate subcommittee that the contamination was done “by virtue of economic fraud,” but he quickly withdrew the remark, saying he had “probably gone too far.”

Dr. Woodcock’s statement on Tuesday was part of growing chorus that has labeled the heparin contamination as perhaps the most brazen poisoning episode since 1982, when seven people in the Chicago area died after taking Tylenol that had been laced with cyanide.

That evidence is pretty damning. Many patients died or were sickened by this incident. The public really needs to not only know the truth about what happened, but also know what kind of safeguards are going to be put in place to try and prevent this from happening again.

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.

Robert L. Parkinson, Baxter’s chairman and chief executive, told the committee, “We’re alarmed that one of our products was used in what appears to have been a deliberate scheme to adulterate a life-saving medication.”

 

 

So, it seems as if this was done to make a few extra bucks, at the expense of the lives and health of unknowing patients.

Increasingly, it seems as though Americans can not depend on our food and medicine sources to be either safe or affordable.  From this latest little dustup it doesn't seem like outsourcing manufacturing is making anything more safe or more affordable.  Meds are still god-awful expensive and they may not be safe.  Someone please tell me what the consumer got out of this?  The pharma companies get to make more profit by shipping all or part of the manufacturing overseas - the overseas companies make more profit from increased business, and maybe a little cost cutting here and there via adulteration or lax quality checks, and the consumer gets...what? Less safe drugs at the same high price.  Sigh.

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