Thursday, February 28, 2008

Blood Thinner Drug, Heparin, Recalled

On February 28th the Food and Drug Administration recalled the drug heparin. U.S. health officials identified a contaminant in batches of the blood thinner heparin associated with 19 deaths. “Dr. Janet Woodcock, head of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said the contaminant is oversulfated condroitin sulfate, a chemical that does not occur naturally. Condroitin sulfate is a natural compound that occurs widely and is used as a dietary supplement but the oversulfated version has not been widely studied. Heparin is derived from pig intestines, and China is the world's leading supplier. Tiny family-run workshops near slaughterhouses send batches of raw ingredients to larger middlemen before they reach factories.