Defective and Dangerous Drugs: Heparin (Part B)

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The 2009 Heparin Class Action Lawsuit

As with many cases of lawsuits involving dangerous drugs, the 2009 Heparin class action lawsuit cited contamination at the manufacturing level as the cause for more than 80 patient deaths and hundreds of patient illnesses.  A class action lawsuit was filed against Heparin manufacturer Baxter Healthcare Corp. which produced batches of Heparin in its Chinese manufacturing plant.  The lawsuit claimed that Baxter was substituting over-sulfated chondroitin sulfate (OSCS) into its Heparin doses as it was cheaper than the standard components. This substitution was claimed to have been done in secret to allow the company to charge standard prices while pocketing the savings on the ingredients. The tainted Heparin was claimed to have been produced starting in March 2008.  Unfortunately, the OSCS in the tainted Heparin caused allergic reactions in hundreds of patients, including several fatal reactions. The change in the composition of the Heparin was unnoticed by patients and medical professionals because OSCS mimics Heparin, even though it is unapproved for use in the United States. The abnormal increase in complaints of adverse reactions caused Baxter to issue a voluntary recall of 9 lots of Heparin vials which tested positive for OSCS upon inspection.  Joyce Ann Osteen was the lead plaintiff on one of the class action lawsuits which were filed on behalf of patients harmed by administration of the tainted Heparin. Her lawsuit was filed on January 5, 2009 and is one of several cases against dangerous drugs such as Heparin.

Misuse of Heparin

Aside from tainted batches, Heparin has also made news after several misuse errors were made in dosages to infants. The most notable case came when actor Dennis Quaid filed a lawsuit against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center when hospital staff negligently gave his twin babies a nearly-fatal overdose of Heparin. The lawsuit claimed medical negligence against the hospital staff for the accidental overdose; Cedars claims the incident resulted from similar packaging being used for the adult and child versions of the drug.  The lawsuit against Cedars settled in 2008 for $750,000. The Quaid family also filed a lawsuit against Baxter Health Care Corp. for the company’s negligence to clearly label the adult and child doses.  Another similar story occurred in Corpus Christi, TX when infant twins died from a Heparin overdose. As many as 17 others in the hospital’s intensive care unit also experienced Heparin side effects. The hospital concluded a pharmacy mixing error led to the overdose. A continued investigation of the 2008 incident has yet to conclude there was a solid link between the infant deaths and Heparin overdose.  Dangerous drugs can cause permanent, if not fatal injuries when they are tainted or misused. If you or a family member has been harmed by one of the dangerous drugs either by adverse drug interactions or medical malpractice in the form of overdose, you may be able to file a personal injury claim.

Contacting a New York City Personal Injury Lawyer

At Gacovino Lake & Associates we have formed a dedicated network of personal injury lawyers to serve clients nationwide, whether you’ve suffered from a dangerous drug or sustained other injury. Our New York office serves residents of the 5 boroughs with their auto accident, medical malpractice, defective drug, premises liability, and Workers’ Compensation claims. For experienced help when filing your personal injury claim, contact us today – 800-246-4878.

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