Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Families tell lawmakers of heparin deaths

Go to AP original
WASHINGTON (AP) — The widow of a man who died after receiving contaminated heparin told a congressional subcommittee Tuesday "we have a false sense of security" in a land where people expect to be protected and safe.

Brushing away tears, Johanna Marie Staples of Toledo, Ohio, said her husband, Dennis, was looking forward to his 60th birthday party on the last day of his life.

Contaminated heparin, a blood thinner used in dialysis and other treatments, has been connected to 81 deaths and 785 severe allergic reactions, said Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations.

The heparin, made from ingredients imported from China, has been recalled by Baxter International and the Food and Drug Administration has blocked imports from the Chinese company.

The FDA found the drug was contaminated with oversulfated condroitin sulfate, which mimics heparin and thus was not detected in routine testing, Stupak noted.

When it was introduced into the product has not yet been determined.


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