WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Leaders today sent a letter to President Obama urging that he discuss with the Chinese President the heparin contamination case from 2007 and 2008 that led to the deaths and severe reactions of many Americans. The letter reads, “This case of intentional adulteration of Chinese crude heparin, a critical drug that helps to prevent blood clots, resulted in deaths and severe reactions in American patients remains unsolved after seven years.” The White House announced this week that President Obama will host China’s President Xi Jinping for an official State Visit on September 25.
The leaders write, “It is time for the highest level of the U.S. government to convey to the Chinese government the importance to America of the safety of the U.S. drug supply and improving global public-health cooperation, including investigation of the contamination of heparin. Mr. President, we believe you share our concerns, and look forward to your assistance in raising these issues as part of your meetings with President Xi.”
The Energy and Commerce Committee has been investigating China’s contamination of heparin since February 2011. The Food and Drug Administration investigation into this incident was closed in 2010 due to a lack of cooperation and transparency from officials in China, but “the FDA in July 2015 reported to the committee that there is an open and ongoing related investigation into contaminated heparin.”
The leaders explain that in 2007 and 2008, following severe reactions and illness among patients taking heparin sold by Baxter International, “Scientific evidence obtained by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), other authorities, researchers, and industry showed that the reactions were linked to a contaminant (overly sulfated chondroitin sulfate or OSCS) that was intentionally introduced in China during the crude heparin manufacturing process.”
The letter was signed by full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX).