Heparin Lawsuits A Reality Despite What CEO Says

Posted on April 17, 2008

Baxter International attributes four deaths to use of its blood thinner heparin. The Food and Drug Administration says the death toll may be upward of 103 (though all may not be due strictly to heparin) and the number is rising.

That disparity doesn’;t disturb the chairman and chief executive of Baxter International, Robert L. Parkinson, Jr. who spoke to investors about Baxter’;s first quarter earnings today.

Parkinson says Baxter does not expect a rash of lawsuits to be filed despite the deaths and allergic reactions attributed to heparin, used in heart surgery, dialysis and outpatient procedures. At least a dozen lawsuits have already been filed. The FDA has uncovered a contaminant in vials of heparin recalled. The chemical, oversulphated condroitin sulphate is similar chemically to heparin but is made from animal cartilage and is a cheaper alternative to raw heparin from pigs’; intestines.   

FDA commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach told Senators this week that the motive was “by virtue of economic fraud” and likely committed intentionally to increase profit.

The FDA has also sent out letters to drug device manufacturers to determine the source of the heparin used to coat devices such as stents.  One device maker, Coviden has already recalled its prefilled lock flush syringes that contain heparin.  

If you or a loved one has been hurt by heparin, visit the pharmaceutical litigation page on our Web site to see if we can help answer your questions about defective drugs. #

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