Class action lawsuit filed against heparin manufacturer Baxter

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Baxter Healthcare Corp., claiming the company began substituting ingredients in its anti-coagulant heparin with a dangerous counterfeit to “reap greater profits as a result of utilizing cheap component parts,” according to The Madison St. Clair (Illinois) The Record.

Joyce Ann Osteen filed the suit in St. Clair County, Illinois, and claims Baxer purposefully added a contaminant, over-sulfated chondroitin sulfate, or OSCS, to heparin manufactured in its China plant. The tainted heparin was distributed to the U.S., where hundreds of allergic reactions occurred. More than 80 people died and hundreds more were sickened by the tainted heparin before an investigation led to a recall of batches of heparin manufactured at Baxter’s China facility. The FDA later issued an announcement saying that the contaminant was an inexpensive and unapproved ingredient that mimics heparin.

OSCS costs only $9 to produce compared to $900 for heparin, the suit contends.

“The recalled heparin was adulterated, misbranded, defective, unreasonably dangerous and unfit for its intended uses,” the suit states. “Baxter placed tens of thousands of patients, including the Plaintiff at unnecessarily risk of serious injury and/or death.”

The suit states Osteen and the class members who purchased the heparin “suffered actual damages as a proximate result of Baxter Healthcare Corp.’s deception in that they were deprived of the benefit of their bargain.” According to the complaint, Osteen is asking the court to certify the complaint as class action. She also is seeking damages of less than $74,999 per plaintiff or class member.