Germans ask for heparin testing

Better safe than sorry. German drug watchdogs asked all 10 companies selling heparin in that country to test every batch for contamination. The move comes after last week's recall of heparin made by Rotexmedica; patients using the med had developed allergic reactions. And that recall, of course, followed a heparin market upheaval in the U.S., where hundreds of patients reported severe reactions and up to 19 died. Baxter recalled almost all its heparin products and stopped production pending an investigation.

Both the German recall and the U.S. recall involved heparin made from Chinese-manufactured active ingredients--but that ingredient came from different suppliers. Baxter has found a contaminant in its heparin batches sourced in China. German regulators now have asked all 10 companies to report whether their products used ingredients made in China, but because there's no definitive link between China and the allergic reactions, asked for all the heparin to be tested regardless of where its ingredients were made. Results are expected soon, perhaps as early as next week.

- read the Wall Street Journal article

ALSO: The Baltimore Sun has a profile of Dr. Alexis Elward of St. Louis Children's Hospital, a Maryland native who alerted the government back in January that heparin might be causing allergic reactions. Report

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