The Food and Drug Administration is reporting
that 103 people have died over the last 15 months from the blood-thinner heparin.
That’s more than three times the reported number from earlier this year that triggered a massive nationwide recall of heparin.
Baxter International Inc. recalled batches of heparin after 19 people had fatal allergic reactions. Since then the FDA has been investigating the plant in China where heparin is manufactured from pig intestines.
A contaminant, over-sulfated chondroitin sulfate, has been found in recalled vials. The FDA is trying to determine whether that was added deliberately.
Chondroitin is widely used for joint pain but also has blood-thinning properties.
62 of the deaths involved dangerously low blood pressure or hypotension. Other reactions include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, an increase in temperature and anaphylaxis.
The highest number of deaths, 24, were reported in January of this year.
Baxter International says the company has identified only four deaths due to recalled heparin.
Another manufacturer, APP Pharmaceuticals has had no reports of death attributed to its product.
Heparin is an anti-coagulant, used during surgery and kidney dialysis to prevent the formation of blood clots. #