A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in federal district court in Boston against the health-care company Covidien Inc., alleging that it supplied tainted doses of the blood thinner heparin to a Missouri retiree who died as a result of allergic reactions to the drug. Plaintiffs allege that the company waited weeks to recall the tainted heparin after other suppliers had conducted their own recalls. Recalled heparin is still in circulation, and there may be more deaths around the country linked to it. It is alleged in the lawsuit that the 67-year-old man died from allergic reactions to tainted heparin on the same day the company announced its recall, March 28th.
Over a period of several months, the Missouri victim suffered nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating, and low blood pressure as a consequence of the drug. As reported, health authorities began to focus on heparin late last year, when reports emerged in Missouri of extreme allergic reactions among a handful of adult and pediatric dialysis patients. A nationwide alert eventually uncovered hundreds of other cases, which led to an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration. As reported, the FDA traced the problem to tainted batches of heparin’s active ingredient, produced at a plant operated by Scientific Protein Laboratories L.L.C. in China.
Much of the focus thus far has been on Baxter International Inc., which supplies about half the heparin used in the United States through its Cherry Hill plant. Scientific Protein Laboratories supplied the active ingredient for both Baxter and Covidien. The FDA concluded that heparin had been contaminated with an over-the-counter dietary supplement and that scores of patients in the United States had died. The victim in the Boston case, the father of 11 children, never received a recall notice or any warning about the drug’s potential danger. It should be noted that even after federal health officials began issuing general warnings in January and other suppliers of heparin began recalling their supplies around the same time, Scientific Protein Laboratories failed to promptly recall the dangerous drug, even though it had to know of the safety and health hazard it created.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
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