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Bad Molecule: Baxter Points Finger At China Supplier In Heparin Case

March 5th, 2008

The U.S. company whose blood thinner was responsible for as many deaths and injuries at home is now claiming that the problem originated with a China supplier. Most companies that have taken a hit due to quality problems in China have been a bit more politic, and so have the traditional media outlets that report on such cases. I quite liked the Washington Post’s coverage on this one:

“…Baxter’s high-tech testing of batches of the problem drug found signs of what it called a ‘heparin-like molecule’ - a substance not found in batches of problem-free heparin.”

This business about a “molecule” sounds like science fiction, pretty disturbing anyway. Let’s hope at least that it stirs up discussion on counterfeiting in the chemicals sector. It’s a serious issue for China, though in this case I am not convinced that this was about a supplier trying to copy some molecule out there. From a political standpoint, the finger pointing is going to make for some interesting reactions in China.

Interestingly enough, I ran a post last August titled “China’s Product Recall Guessing Game”. People had been asking where I thought the next product recall was going to come from, as if I had any idea. A few broad criteria came to mind., and I jotted down four things that concerned me, in particular. In my third point, I suggested that importers be very concerned about chemicals. In the fourth, I suggested that they stay away from any China-made products that relied upon FDA approval in the United States.

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