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Capitol Health Call
April 13, 2011

Heparin Frustrations

JAMA. 2011;305(14):1402. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.416

The Republican leadership of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce is turning up the heat on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to identify those responsible for the importation of contaminated heparin from China that killed scores of people and sickened hundreds beginning in 2008.

In a February 23 letter, the committee leadership asked the FDA to produce documents relating to heparin-related inspections conducted by the agency in China, the possible sources and methods of the adulteration, and test results on products submitted by heparin firms for the purpose of screening for contaminants (http://tiny.cc/xk587). The committee said that more than 80% of the US unfractionated heparin supply is sourced from China and that the drug is annually administered to about 12 million individuals.