Another glaring example of why the drug industry and President Bush will lobby for pre-emption is found in recent developments with regard to a Baxter International drug. On April 15, 2008, the FDA announced that the blood thinner heparin, which has been associated with several deaths and allergic reactions, may have been intentionally contaminated in order to reduce the cost of the drug. The contaminated heparin was manufactured by Baxter International and is commonly used before certain types of surgery and during hemodialysis as a blood clotting preventative. If, indeed there has been intentional contamination, the drug industry will be seeking federal “drug company protection” form both the US Supreme Court and the Bush administration.
In addition, the FDA reported last week that there has been a substantial increase in the number of people who have died while taking the blood thinner. Its findings indicated that there have been 103 reports of heparin-associated deaths since January 1, 2007 and 91 of these were reported to the agency on or after January 1, 2008. Baxter and the FDA recalled several dosage types of heparin in February after receiving reports of adverse reactions including breathing difficulty, vomiting, excess sweating and a rapid decline in blood pressure. Baxter subsequently expanded the recall to include all remaining lots of its multi-dose, single dose and flush products. The Supreme Court may soon be granting immunity to the drug industry with preemption. If so, justice will be denied for many more innocent victims.