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Bret Hanna
Bret Hanna
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Deadly Heparin? Drug Investigated in Two Deaths

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A hospital in Delaware and the Federal Drug Administration are investigating two deaths and other complications that may be related to the use of the anti-coagulant heparin according to a report in the Chicago Tribune. The Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, Delaware, is investigating adverse reactions from the use of heparin in five patients. Meanwhile, the facility has suspended the use of the drug pending the results of the investigation. An independent laboratory is conducting the investigation.

Baxter International manufactures the the commonly used blood thinner which has had a checkered safety track record. Baxter issued a vast recall of a form of the drug distributed in vial form last year after a number of complications were reported from its administration, including the widely publicized case involving twins born to actor Dennis Quaid and his wife, Kimberly Buffington. The heparin at issue in the Beebe Medical Center cases was administered in pre-mixed bags and is a different product than that involved in the recall.

Baxter claims that the recalled product was the result of the use of an adulterated product from a Chinese supplier referred to as oversulfated chondroitin sulfate. The heparin at issue in the current investigation was formulated with active ingredients supplied by North American based Pfizer, Inc. Such active ingredients are generally described as being derived from pig intestines.