Heparin Recall Lawsuit Ends in $625K Award in First of Hundreds of Claims

The family of an Illinois man was awarded $625,000 by a Cook County jury in the first of hundreds of lawsuits over Baxter heparin that was recalled several years ago after it was discovered counterfeit ingredients were used to manufacture the blood thinner. 

The verdict was handed down Thursday in a heparin recall lawsuit brought by the estate of Steven Johnson, 63, against Baxter International Inc.

Johnson died in December 2007 after being given heparin made from ingredients imported from China, which the FDA later determined contained fake and potentially life-threatening chemicals. Hundreds of serious injuries and deaths were linked to the recalled heparin.

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According to Johnson’s lawsuit and other similar cases filed on behalf of people throughout the United States, Baxter knew or should have known about the fake ingredients and prevented the heparin from being given to patients. During the trial, attorneys argued that internal company records that referred to it as “the cheap stuff.”

There are currently about 300 heparin lawsuits consolidated in Cook County Circuit Court against Baxter and an ingredient supplier, Scientific Protein Laboratories, LLC.

Additional cases in federal court over the Baxter heparin recall have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings as part of an MDL, or multidistrict litigation, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

The Baxter heparin recall was issued in January 2008 after a spike in adverse event reports surfaced involving reactions to the blood thinner, which is critical for a number of medical procedures and conditions. Dozens of serious adverse reactions and deaths were reported in connection with the contaminated heparin.

At the time of the recall, Baxter manufactured about half of the injectable heparin sold in the United States and it was discovered that the crude heparin used to make the drug contained a fake ingredient received from a plant in China, which was chemically similar to heparin, yet substantially cheaper. Top FDA officials concluded that the substitution of the fake ingredient that caused the heparin problems was likely done by virtue of economic fraud.

After the trial, Baxter acknowledged that some cases of legitimate harm from fake heparin existed, but said the FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have determined very specific signs and symptoms of sufferers of Heparin contamination. Company officials stated they will defend against cases where the plaintiffs do not match those parameters.

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7 Comments

  • jacquelineJuly 16, 2017 at 7:08 am

    I was given heparin july 11, 2017 and i'm totally afraid on the effcts

  • OdieApril 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    M. Martinez , I agree with you , but I'm afraid it wouldn't do any good. Baxter has deep pockets . Who do you think owns Baxter . The stock holders which are congressmen , lawyers , judges , expert witnesses , media , and so on . That's like crying to the fox after he raided the chicken coop . We are nothing to those people . We are just being took advantage of by Greed

  • M. MartinezApril 23, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    This is an atrocity against the American people. It renders our medicine supply unsafe and sends the message that big busioness rules. to drug companies and China and India who manufacture a large amount of our medications from vitamins to life threatening meds. the heparin event was a deliberate poisioning and they are getting away with it. Where's the news media?? Only a big public outcry ca[Show More]This is an atrocity against the American people. It renders our medicine supply unsafe and sends the message that big busioness rules. to drug companies and China and India who manufacture a large amount of our medications from vitamins to life threatening meds. the heparin event was a deliberate poisioning and they are getting away with it. Where's the news media?? Only a big public outcry can stop this., I encourage all involved and offered the chump change to make their case known to the lpublic, the media and the congress.

  • stevenApril 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Thay killed my father in 2008, and now baxter offerd me 15.000, please for a life, thats rong no matter how you look at it. im going to the tv with this...

  • jessicaOctober 15, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    It has been three years now and baxter still is dragging their feets. There should be penalties when companies stone wall even when its clear they are liable..

  • KatherineJune 29, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    I agree with what Charcy had to say,it is time that alot more famlies have closure to the horrible suffering that our families when throw because of greed,My 85 year old mother never had anything wrong with her ,went to the hospital with pains in her right side not left side,she was giving the contaimented heparin and she died within 30 minutes.But there was alot of people that suffered alot long[Show More]I agree with what Charcy had to say,it is time that alot more famlies have closure to the horrible suffering that our families when throw because of greed,My 85 year old mother never had anything wrong with her ,went to the hospital with pains in her right side not left side,she was giving the contaimented heparin and she died within 30 minutes.But there was alot of people that suffered alot longer.Now it's time Baxter quit dragging ther feet.It was already proven by law it was dangerous.Now Baxter it's time to stand up and act like you care about the people that died taking a drug that was suppose to help them not kill them.

  • CharcyJune 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I am glad that baxter lost the law suite. They have to be held accountable for the drug heparin. It hurt alot of people. I know the family has some forclosure but it still does not bring back the loved one you lost no matter how much they give its not worth losing some one you love. Like David Zoll said "Heparin is supposed to be a life saving drug not a "life" taking drug. It would be nice if all[Show More]I am glad that baxter lost the law suite. They have to be held accountable for the drug heparin. It hurt alot of people. I know the family has some forclosure but it still does not bring back the loved one you lost no matter how much they give its not worth losing some one you love. Like David Zoll said "Heparin is supposed to be a life saving drug not a "life" taking drug. It would be nice if all the lawsuites could be settled so other familes could get some forclosure. My hat is off to all the lawyers in this case.

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