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Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain

Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

FDA Puts Foot Down, at last! Raids Chinese "Heparin" House

FDA does its best Barney Fife impersonation with raid

Watching the FDA take enforcement action sometimes makes you think of Don Knotts' Barney Fife character in the Andy Griffith Show. You know, the guy who got to carry a gun but was liable to shoot his foot off at any second?

But every now and then, even Fife made a bust. And it looks like the FDA finally took some decisive action and got its man, too.

Federal agents in November, at the FDA's request, raided a Cincinnati distributor and seized containers of the contaminated blood thinner heparin, which was manufactured in China.

That's right – believe it or not, there's still some contaminated heparin floating around. As I've told you before, the government has received reports of 250 deaths linked to contaminated batches.

In April, the government had inspected Celsus Laboratories, the Cincinnati company, and discovered contaminated heparin in two kinds of products. Celsus wasn't alone, of course -- contaminated batches from the Chinese manufacturer were found in the products of 12 companies.

But, like Barney Fife, the FDA stumbled and bungled its way through this enforcement action. They only asked for the raid after TWICE asking Celsus to recall contaminated products and not getting a sufficient response.

That's right – a company refusing the FDA's request once wasn't enough to spur action. America's favorite bureaucracy decided to try again – perhaps the second request had a "pretty please" attached.

In the end, the right thing was done. But, as always, it took way too long to get there.

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