Heparin’s evil twin: Tragic Tale of Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals

Heparin contamination and adulteration

They say “God who sends the wound also sends medicine.” But, this case proves that your medicine for blood coagulation could have been couriered by Satan himself. This devastating instance of mass Heparin contamination left the population in fear and distrust.

What is Heparin?

Heparin is a medication used to tackle blood clots, perform dialysis and aid in various surgical procedures. It acts as a blood thinner due to its anti-coagulation properties.


It started when…

It all started when several reports of allergic-type reactions including acute hypotension, nausea, and shortness of breath from Heparin consumers grabbed the attention of Healthcare professionals. 

This distress became more serious when fatalities were associated with the contaminated medicine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had reported over 80 deaths linked to the tainted Heparin.

The unusual pattern and severity of these reactions prompted an immediate investigation. 


Delving into the Investigation

The culprit that swept the pharmaceutical industry turns out to be OSCS (Oversulfated Chondroitin Sulfate). Its resemblance to the molecular structure of Heparin allowed manufacturers to contaminate the supply chain with an alleged motivation of economic gain. 


Hunting deeper about OSCS

Animal testing of the contaminated Heparin resulted in increased Blood pressure, nausea and other symptoms linked to a compound named Bradykinin. OSCS contaminated heparin incubated with human plasma has the capacity to liberate Bradykinin that is linked to increased Blood pressure. 


Read more about effects of OSCS


Unraveling the Consequences

In response to the incident, pharma industries across the globe have equipped solutions to monitor their supply chain better. As consumers, we too bear the responsibility to make sure that brands are safeguarding you by using trustworthy anti-counterfeit solutions.

Pharma companies must take an active step adapting anti-counterfeit technology so as to protect their products from cloning and false reputation. This allows authentication for anyone within the supply chain, including the customer or manufacturer.



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