Dwindling US heparin supply linked to swine fever outbreak in China

A swine fever outbreak in China that has killed millions of pigs has led to a dwindling supply of a common blood thinner in the U.S., Bloomberg reports. 

The active ingredient in the anti-clotting drug heparin is derived from pig intestines, and much of the world's supply of the ingredient comes from China.

Fresenius SE, a major manufacturer of heparin, said in a letter obtained by Bloomberg that it has started to limit allocations of the drug "due to a potential shortage of raw ingredient."

"We source from multiple suppliers and geographies to serve our customers, but the situation in China is expected to cause API supply constraints globally for an unknown period," Fresenius Kabi said in a July letter posted by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists, a trade organization that tracks drug shortages.

While there are shortages of some heparin products, there is sufficient supply overall, the report quotes the FDA saying.

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