Heparin: Costs and Deadly Side Effects
Heparin is a blood thinner, prescribed by physicians and surgeons for kidney-dialysis and post surgical patients to prevent blood clots. One of the key ingredients in Heparin is derived from the mucous membranes of pig intestines; pigs naturally produce proteins used in pharmaceutical products.
Baxter International, a very large multinational health care company based in Deerfield, Illinois, whose sales totaled $11.26 billion in 2007, partnered with Scientific Protein Laboratories (SPL) to provide Baxter with the key ingredient for Heparin. SPL was started in 1976 by Oscar Meyer Company in Waunakee, Wisconsin.
In 2007, a team of quality ...view middle of the document...
This industrial grade additive is used to mask the dilution of protein, which in this case is a popular baby formula in China. Approximately 53,000 small children in China have developed issues with kidney stones and other kidney related issues and approximately four have died. The product has been recalled around the world by eleven countries, which includes the U.S. The list of recalled products from China includes seven instant coffee as well as milk-tea products, pet foods, all of which were made in Taiwan using tainted Chinese milk. The company that is responsible for the manufacture and distribution of these tainted milk products is Sanlu Group, based in Hebei Province in central China, and is owned by the Chinese government.
China has emerged as an economic powerhouse over the last two decades, with most of the world’s common products originating in Chinese factories. Pharmaceuticals are no exception. With this surge of economic growth, and increasingly intense competition within, the Chinese government apparently has little to no oversight or regulation, and what regulatory authorities it has may be corrupt. Various sources cited within the investigation into the Heparin debacle have alluded and stated that the Chinese government’s “regulation” is haphazard at the very best, and sometimes nonexistent. The competition in the country is based solely on cost, and profits are achieved by undermining competition at all costs. In the case of the Heparin issue, the investigation proved that there is little to no oversight.
The way heparin is made starts with pigs on farms. Nearly half the pigs in the world are located in China. The conditions in which these pigs live are deplorable. Farmers that raise the animals are not held to U. S. standards, and are not held accountable for the health of the animals. When the animals are slaughtered, the intestines are harvested for such purposes as creating raw heparin. SPL purchased the raw heparin from two sources, Changzhou Techpool and Ruihua Biomedical Products Co. SPL then refines it and sells it to companies such as Baxter International for distribution to hospitals and pharmacies. According to the FDA investigation, it appears that the contamination in the heparin was intentional, and has been called “economic fraud, “by deputy FDA administrator, Janet Woodcock. As previously outlined, the Chinese undercut each other in order to maximize profits, and they did to achieve this is substitute a chemical known as oversulfated chrondroitin sulfate (OSCS), which is derived from animal cartilage and only used in dietary supplements. This chemical mimics heparin, but does not have the medicinal values of the real thing. This chemical costs $20 per kg, instead of $2000 for crude heparin. The investigation concluded that the fake heparin was still sold for the same price as the authentic heparin, and the difference in was pocketed by the conspirators. This difference was...