Friday, February 22, 2008

Heparin from China

The Wall St Journal has an article about a Chinese heparin maker. Exterior photo shows a beat up one story garage like building, surrounded by piles of junk. Description of the raw material (pig gut) and processing steps (concrete fermentation tank) are disgusting. The thought of feeding anything coming out of that yucky place into a live patient, anywhere, is stomach turning. Patients ought to beware of heparin, since it might have come from there.
The reporter then veers off into fantasy, suggesting putting in a paperwork system that would allow back tracking from a bottle of heparin to the serial numbers of the pigs it was made from, pig by pig. Three thousand pigs go into each kilogram of purified heparin. After a patient curls up and dies from bad heparin, does he care which pig from China killed him? Especially as said pig long ago became pork fried rice? Effort should go toward inventing a more sanitary method of making heparin, not doing paperwork to document how dirty the current product is.

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