ASHP 08: APP Pharmaceuticals launches heparin safety site

December 7, 2008

APP Pharmaceuticals, right now the only supplier of heparin sodium vials in the U.S. market, has launched a safety web site to help healthcare officials reduce heparin-related medication errors and implement 2009 Joint Commission requirements.

APP Pharmaceuticals, right now the only supplier of heparin sodium vials in the U.S. market, has launched a safety web site to help healthcare officials reduce heparin-related medication errors and implement 2009 Joint Commission requirements.

APP's announcement comes at the end of a year during which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attributed more than 250 deaths and hundreds of severe allergic reactions to contaminated heparin imported from China. It also comes less than a month before hospitals must have anticoagulation management plans in place to meet a new National Patient Safety Goal.

The website ("Working Together for Patient Safety," available at www.APPpharma.com/safety) details the company's efforts to ensure a safe supply of heparin, including cap, label, and bar code enhancements. The site will also include safety information for high-alert products.

"This initiative is driven by our responsibility to ensure a safer and ample supply of heparin for the thousands of patients who rely on this medication every day," Thomas H. Silberg, president and CEO of APP, announced just before the start of the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting. "Our goal is to provide clinicians and the general public with an understanding of the multifaceted process that goes into the manufacturing and testing of each vial of heparin, and to provide peace of mind that heparin manufactured by APP has undergone rigorous safety and quality tests."

Reports of adverse reactions to heparin began in November 2007. The heparin-related incidents resulted in hundreds of deaths in the United States. The FDA said the problem was caused by a man-made chemical that was added to batches of the drug imported from China.

Cases were spread over 13 states and the FDA determined that the heparin was marketed by Baxter Healthcare, of Deerfield, Ill. Baxter had received its heparin supplies from China.