Earlier this month, the anticoagulant (blood-thinning) drug heparin was linked to 19 deaths in the U.S.A. as well as several hundred allergic reactions. A contaminant was thought to be the cause of these deaths, and now the Food and Drug Administration has said they have identified the contaminant:
The contaminant, the regulators said, is a chemically altered form of chondroitin sulfate, a dietary supplement made from animal cartilage that is widely used to treat joint pain. The agency’s announcement followed a report Wednesday in The New York Times that was the first publicly to identify the modified substance as the likely contaminant.
Disturbingly, in that same article, the regulators implied that they believe the contaminant was intentionally mixed with the heparin.