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April 29, 1974

Heparins and Heparin Units

Author Affiliations

Pharmacy Services, Waynesboro Community Hospital Waynesboro, Va

JAMA. 1974;228(5):569. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230300017016

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To the Editor.—  We read with interest Dr. Wilson's comments (227:481, 1974) concerning the comparable efficacy of heparin from porcine intestinal mucosa and beef lung sources. A great deal of confusion about this drug shows that additional research is needed. However, some of Dr. Wilson's comments will only add to the confusion, and he creates concern about other issues having nothing to do with heparin therapy.It is implied that patients are actually being harmed through the ignorance of hospital pharmacists who purchase heparin derived from porcine intestinal mucosa. Hospital pharmacists will certainly resent such implications. Drug purchasing decisions are based upon the best available information, including, in a great many instances, the recommendations of the pharmacy and therapeutics committee of the medical staff. If Dr. Wilson has conclusively demonstrated that the differences between the two types of heparin are so great that there has been "needless slaughter of human beings,"