In February 2008, Baxter Healthcare recalled its widely used anticoagulant drug known as heparin due to mounting reports that it was causing serious, potentially fatal, side effects. In December of that same year, the FDA published a report finding that the recalled heparin was contaminated by oversulfated chondroitin sulfate, a substance that is chemically similar to and less expensive than heparin. According to the FDA heparin warning:
- Oversulfated chondroitin sulfate was tainting heparin and causing patients to experience severe allergic reactions.
- Baxter Healthcare secured this cheaper substitute from Chinese pharmaceutical companies and knowingly used this ingredient to make heparin in an effort to save money.
Since the 2008 heparin recall, nearly 90 Americans have suffered a wrongful death as a result of taking tainted heparin.
Heparin FDA Warnings: Other Serious Heparin Side Effects
Tainted heparin is not the only version of the drug that can cause severe health complications; uncontaminated batches of heparin have been clinically proven to cause a number of serious side effects, including:
- Excessive bleeding
- Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys healthy blood platelets; HIT can lead to stroke, heart attack, pulmonary embolism and even wrongful death when not treated promptly.
- Hyperkalemia, high potassium blood levels that can lead to life-threatening arrhythmias without prompt treatment.
- Osteoporosis, severe loss of bone density
- Severe allergic reaction, typically accompanied by problems breathing, skin rashes, or facial inflammation.
The FDA has issued heparin warnings regarding the risk of developing such side effects and has alerted the public that those at the highest risk include patients older than 60, those with a history of liver disease, bleeding disorders, intestinal disorders, and heart infections.
Heparin Recall & Warnings Trigger Lawsuits
As the focus of public awareness in recent years, heparin contamination and side effects have led many victims to file lawsuits against Baxter Healthcare (and other heparin manufacturers, including APP, B. Braun, and Hospira). Of the approximately 50 lawsuits that have been filed as a result of tainted heparin, the first was set to start in November 2010, and hundreds more heparin lawsuits have been filed to date.
If you have been injured as a result of taking tainted (or non-tainted) heparin:
- You will need emergency medical care to prevent possibly fatal side effects.
- You will have a strong legal claim against the maker of the heparin you took.
- You can secure compensation for your medical bills, ongoing treatment costs, lost wages, permanent disabilities, pain and suffering by following through with a heparin recall lawsuit.
Experienced heparin lawyers welcome victims to attend a free initial consult to learn more about their legal rights, receive a professional evaluation of their case, and get their case started at no upfront cost (as heparin attorneys work on contingency).
If you or a loved one have used heparin and suffered from any side effect including allergic reaction, thrombocytopenia, or osteoporosis you should contact us immediately for a free and confidential case review. You may be entitled to compensation and we can help.