FDA Finds Contaminant in Blood Thinner

Substance discovered in heparin, linked to 19 deaths nationwide
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2008 9:49 PM CST
Some batches of the blood thinner heparin have been linked to hundreds of adverse reactions and 19 deaths.   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The FDA has found a contaminant in samples of heparin, a blood thinner produced mainly in China linked to 19 deaths and nearly 800 allergic reactions in the US, the New York Times reports. The contaminant may be a counterfeit form of heparin added to reduce its manufacturing cost. The FDA is fine-tuning tests to better detect it.

“At this point, we do not know whether the introduction was accidental or whether it was deliberate,” said an FDA official. Neither do they know whether the contaminant was introduced in China, where the raw components of heparin are produced, or in US processing facilities. While the FDA has yet to prove the contaminant caused the deaths, it was found only in samples associated with illnesses. (Read more Heparin stories.)