Heparin manufactured by Baxter Healthcare, almost half the nation's supply of this essential blood thinner, has been contaminated and is a serious health threat.
Last year, doctors at a single hospital detected that four children who received Heparin treatments as part of dialysis suffered a serious allergic reaction. They reported their concerns, and soon it was apparent that there were more than 350 reports of similar allergic reactions. Forty percent were categorized as "serious" and four fatalities had been reported. Heparin is an essential blood-thinner used in dialysis and in many other medical procedures and surgeries. Eventually these reports were traced to Heparin produced by Baxter Healthcare, which supplies about half the nation's Heparin supply, and apparently in most cases to multi-dose vials.
Baxter immediately recalled 9 lots of Heparin, however, the problem was not solved. If Baxter were to discontinue production, the nation would face a substantial shortage of Heparin. While the manufacturer is seeking an answer to the contamination problem, health care providers are being encouraged to use the smallest possible dose, to infuse slowly, and to monitor the patient carefully. It is arguable whether Michigan patients have a claim if injured by the contaminated medication , due to product liability "reform" legislation purports to immunize from liability the manufacturer of any FDA-approved medication.