Federal authorities have launched an investigation into the contaminated medication that was administered to dialysis patients at the Pemex Regional Hospital in Villahermosa, Tabasco, where a seventh death linked to the tainted drug occurred on Thursday.
The Federal Commission for Protection Against Sanitary Risk (Cofepris) and the federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR) said that they are investigating the possible adulteration or counterfeiting of the blood-thinning drug sodium heparin that was given to scores of dialysis patients almost two weeks ago.
Pemex last week accused the manufacturer of the drug of delivering heparin that was contaminated with bacteria.
Cofepris said that the investigation into the tainted medication was launched after the pharmaceutical company PiSA filed a criminal complaint with the FGR, alleging that its heparin was either adulterated or counterfeited.
PiSA said that it examined its sodium heparin at the Pemex Regional Hospital and detected signs that the vials it was contained in had been reused or tampered with. Testing found that the heparin contained substances that are not used by PiSa to manufacture the drug.
PiSA said that the person who delivered the drug to the Pemex hospital, José Roche Pérez, is not an authorized distributor of the pharmaceutical company, according to Cofepris.
The commission called on hospitals, pharmacies and other medication retailers to review their stock for INHEPAR 5000 manufactured by PiSA with a batch number of C18E881 and an expiry date of January 2021. Anyone who finds the drug in their stock “should secure it and notify this health authority,” Cofepris said.
The commission also recommended that no medication be purchased from José Roche Pérez until its investigation has been completed.
The tainted sodium heparin claimed its seventh victim on Thursday – 76-year-old Bienvenido Sánchez Feria of the Tabasco municipality of Huimanguillo. His granddaughter Yenny Lisbeth Sánchez said that he died of respiratory arrest.
The newspaper El Universal reported that six dialysis patients given heparin contaminated by the bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae have now died and that one other person lost their life in the Villahermosa hospital after becoming infected with the same bacteria. The death of that person is considered “collateral damage” of the administration of the contaminated medication, El Universal said.
The deaths are under investigation to determine their exact cause and the role played by the tainted heparin.
Source: El Universal (sp)
UPDATE: Health authorities have confirmed that eight patients have died from the contaminated medication.