Four lawsuits filed in contaminated heparin case

Four lawsuits were filed last month in Cook County, Illinois court against the makers of the blood thinner heparin, claiming the product the company manufactured was contaminated and caused patients to die.

Named in the lawsuit are Baxter International, Baxter Healthcare Corporation and Scientific Protein Laboratories. Both Baxter International and Baxter Healthcare have been sued 24 times in 2009 alleging the drug maker’s heparin was contaminated and led to death or serious injury.

In February 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered a recall of nine lots of Baxter’s heparin manufactured in the company’s China plant after more than 80 deaths and hundreds of illnesses were reported following the use of the drug. The FDA later found the heparin had been contaminated with over-sulfated chondroitin sulfate (OSCS). OSCS mimics heparin but can cause serious allergic reactions and even death in individuals who take receive it.

The recall included all lots and doses of heparin sodium injection multi-dose, single-dose vials and HEP-LOCK heparin flush products, both preserved and preservative-free. Baxter also suspended production beginning in early February 2008.

Baxter is one of the leading suppliers of heparin products, manufacturing about one half of the multi-dose vials used each month by health care providers.

Source: Chicago Bar-Tender