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Families of patients killed by the tainted blood thinner Heparin testified before Congress yesterday. An FDA official said the agency needs more resources to improve drug manufacturing inspections, as NPR's Debbie Eliot reports.
DEBBIE ELIOT: Families urged members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee to do more to protect the nation's drug supply. Joanna Marie Staples lost her husband, Dennis, after he received contaminated Heparin during a dialysis treatment in Toledo.
Ms. JOANNA MARIE STAPLES: In this land of freedom and opportunity we've come to expect to be protected and safe. It's overwhelming to discover that there are circumstances beyond our control from which we are not sheltered. We have a false empty sense of security and we are neither safe from harm nor catastrophe.
ELIOT: The Food and Drug Administration has linked at least 81 deaths and hundreds of severe reactions to the blood thinner manufactured by Baxter International from tainted ingredients imported from China. Baxter chairman Robert Parkinson testified the contamination was intentional.
Mr. ROBERT PARKINSON (Baxter International): We're alarmed that one of our products was used in what appears to have been a deliberate scheme to adulterate a life-saving medication, and that people have suffered as a result. We deeply regret that this has happened, and I feel a strong sense of personal responsibility for these circumstances.
ELIOT: Parkinson said the complexity of the global drug supply chain calls for new drug safety standards.
Debbie Eliot, NPR News, the Capitol.
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