Tainted heparin found overseas

April 22, 2008 at 8:07 AM

WASHINGTON, April 22 (UPI) -- U.S. regulators said contaminated blood thinner from China, linked to 81 deaths in the United States, has been found in several countries.

The Food and Drug Administration Monday said blood thinner containing oversulfated chondroitin sulfate had been discovered in Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Italy, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The Times said regulators in Germany have reported several illnesses among dialysis patients who used the drug.

FDA officials said 12 Chinese companies manufactured the heparin, but when the cheaper additive was introduced to the products is still in question.

A Chinese official asked that China be allowed to inspect drug plants in the United States and denied the links between the deaths or illnesses.

"We don't have a strong evidence to show that it is heparin or its contaminant that caused the problem," said Ning Chen, second secretary at the Chinese Embassy.

However, Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the Food and Drug Administration's drug center, said Chinese officials had agreed contaminated heparin had originated in China.

Woodcock said the agency was "fairly confident … that this contaminant is capable of triggering these adverse reactions."

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