Friday, February 29, 2008

Baxter's Heparin Recalls Expands as More Reactions Reported

Drug maker Baxter International is expanding its recall of heparin, a blood-thinning drug, as the medication is suspected in more patient deaths.

Heparin, one of the most widely used medications, has been suspected as the cause of 21 deaths and close to 450 "adverse events," and almost 400 of those events involved heparin made by Baxter (ticker symbol BAX).

Baxter makes half of the heparin used in the U.S., but authorities don't expect a shortage of the drug. The company APP Pharmaceuticals, which makes the other half of the U.S. supply of heparin, has increased its output to help make up the shortfall from Baxter.

An article in today's Wall Street Journal says that the FDA has found quality control lapses at a plant in China that makes the active ingredient used in heparin, but haven't yet identified the precise cause of the adverse reactions.

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