The Heparin Contamination Crisis
Case Study 1 – The Heparin contamination crisis (2008)
An example of why carbohydrate metrology is so important.
Heparin is a polysaccharide that interacts with antithrombin in blood and is widely used in the clinic as an injectable anticoagulant, isolated from natural sources.
In 2008, the use of adulterated samples of heparin caused a number of deaths and highlighted the lack analytical scrutiny of this commonly used carbohydrate based medicine.
There are now enhanced safety measures in place alongside better sourcing control of the pharmaceutical supply chain in place, as well as new analytical methods for more comprehensive screening of drug and incipient identities and impurity profiles were specified.
This is a specific example of how advanced metrology can lead to improved product safety.