FDA clears Baxter in deaths following heparin injections

Baxter Healthcare Corp. has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the deaths of two patients at a Delaware hospital following an injection of the drug maker’s blood thinner heparin. The FDA attributed the two deaths, and the illness of a third patent, to existing medical conditions. All three patients suffered intercranial bleeding following injections of heparin.

Announcement of the deaths and illness at Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, Delaware, raised immediate concern at the hospital, which promptly notified the FDA and Baxter. The incidents were far too similar to the 2007 heparin scandal in which more than 80 Americans died and hundreds more became ill after receiving doses of Baxter’s heparin. An investigation found some lots of heparin manufactured in Baxter’s China factory were contaminated with a heparin-like substance called over-sulfated chondroitin sulfate, or OSCS.

Both Baxter and the FDA investigated the Beebe incidents. Earlier this week Baxter announced its investigation found no OSCS contaminate in the heparin supplied to Beebe. It also said the heparin used by Beebe was manufactured in its Ohio plant, not the China facility.

But the mystery about the deaths and illness at Beebe still remains. A Baxter spokesperson said that following the national guidelines for drugs like heparin does not guarantee that there will be no problems with the medication.

“Even when those protocols are followed, bleeding at a site, including intercranial bleeding, can occur – especially in high-risk patients, which is an established side effect of all anticoagulant therapies,” said Erin Gardiner with Baxter. “Our responsibility is for the safety of the product.”

Source: Delmarva Media Group