Rep. Joe Barton of Texas wants the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to turn over databases stemming from last year’s tainted heparin scandal that killed more than 80 Americans and injured hundreds more, according to NASDAQ.com. At a public hearing last week, Barton raised concerns that the agency doesn’t know for sure what caused the contamination.
The FDA has previously claimed the raw heparin originated from a manufacturing company in China and was purposefully contaminated with a man-made chemical, over-sulfated chondroitin sulfate, OSCS. The Chinese government disagrees.
Barton, a ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has long championed the effort to resolve the heparin scandal by scrutinizing the FDA’s investigation into the case and the subsequent recall. He has previously argued that the agency misrepresented deaths tied to the heparin and didn’t thoroughly investigate the matter. He also has demanded answers on why the FDA took six months to seize lots of the contaminated heparin from an Ohio agency that still had the tainted drug in stock.
In his latest inquiry, Barton wants to know if the FDA has tracked the contamination back to the source. He also asked what action the Chinese government has taken in the matter and whether anyone in China has been held accountable.
Products imported from China have been in the spotlight in recent years as reports of more tainted foods, drugs and toys have entered the U.S. and injured people. The FDA has been working to expand its inspections of foreign imports in part by opening offices overseas. The first of these offices opened late last year in China.