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Jury awards estate of man given contaminated drug

CHICAGO (AP) — A Cook County jury has awarded $625,000 to the estate of a man given the blood thinner heparin that was contaminated with fake ingredients sourced in China.

Hundreds of lawsuits were filed against Deerfield, Ill.-based Baxter International Inc. and its supplier, Wisconsin-based Scientific Protein Laboratories, after federal regulators determined in 2008 that heparin was contaminated with a nutritional supplement that mimics the real drug in routine tests for potency.

Thursday’s verdict in favor of the estate of Steven Johansen of Oak Forest, Ill., was the first to result from the litigation.

Attorneys say the man received low doses of contaminated heparin in December 2007 during dialysis. He later received a higher dosage and died.

After heparin was linked to hundreds of life-threatening allergic reactions, the drug was recalled by Baxter International.

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