Heparin blood thinners may have sickened as many as 100 people in Germany, health officials report. The FDA is currently investigating the drug after it was linked to 19 deaths and hundreds of allergic reactions in the US, possibly due to contaminants from China. The agency is now recommending that all American heparin manufacturers test supplies for contaminants and counterfeit ingredients.
The German illnesses are not linked to heparin maker Baxter International, which supplied the drug in the American fatalities, reports the New York Times. FDA investigators have identified a counterfeit ingredient from China in some batches of the Baxter heparin but have not yet definitively linked it to the US deaths. The latest news "indicates that the issue could be further back in the supply chain," said a Baxter spokesman. Most of the world's supply of heparin comes from China.