Docs needing blood-thinning drugs may be in a fix. Allergic reactions prompted Baxter to stop making multiple-dose vials of heparin, and the FDA told physicians to stop using them except when absolutely necessary--and then, very carefully. Baxter makes 35 million vials of heparin annually, about half the U.S. supply, making officials worry about shortages.
You'll recall that late last month, Baxter recalled nine lots of the injectable heparin after dialysis patients had allergic reactions to it. Now, the FDA says it has received 350 reports of side effects including vomiting, nausea, and difficulty breathing. Four people died while taking the drug, but it's not clear the drug was to blame. The FDA is inspecting Baxter's manufacturing facilities in search of the problem.