2.21.2008

File Under: Sausage Being Made

Tainted Heparin killing people? Like everything else, we go back a look at where it is made and how -- and the lack of oversight and regulation. The Wall Street Journal has a series "following the heparin trail..."

In a small, damp factory here, blood-smeared men wring pulp from pig intestines, then heat it in concrete vats.
The activity at Yuan Intestine & Casing Factory is
the first step in the poorly regulated process of making raw heparin,
the main ingredient in a type of blood-thinning medicine that in recent
days has come under suspicion in the deaths of four Americans.
More than half the world's heparin comes from China.
The chemical is often extracted from pig entrails in small factories --
many as rudimentary as this one, which also manufactures sausage
casings from intestines. The heparin eventually ends up in drugs used
world-wide by patients having surgery or who need dialysis.




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