Two injectable drugs are subject to new recalls because of old problems. First, the Novartis generics unit Sandoz has initiated a recall of 24 lots of methotrexate, which is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, among other problems. The reason? Small glass flakes in vials of the drug, which could touch off adverse events including blood-vessel damage, swelling and death.
It's at least the third time this year that errant glass flakes have prompted a recall. In May, Halozyme and Baxter recalled their drug Hylenex for the same reason. Then, in September, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson pulled lots of their anemia drugs Epogen and Procrit because of glass flakes in their vials..
Second, the medical products company B. Braun announced a recall of seven lots of heparin because they may be contaminated by oversulfated chondroitin sulfate, the same chemical that tainted problem lots of the blood thinner back in 2008. That contaminated heparin is blamed for at least 81 deaths and severe sickness in dozens of patients.
This time around, the active ingredient for B. Braun's suspect heparin was also supplied by Scientific Protein Laboratories. SPL supplied the active ingredient for Baxter's lots recalled in 2008. Braun's recall of finished heparin may just be the first, because SPL has recalled three lots of raw heparin it sold to drugmakers.