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Contaminated medical devices a huge concern

23 May 2008

Contaminated medical devices a huge concern - Greens

News that life saving medical devices used in New Zealand have been found to be coated with contaminated blood thinning pharmaceutical Heparin is a huge concern, the Green Party says.

"This is especially concerning since new equipment to replace the contaminated machines may take at least two months to arrive," Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"In the meantime, patients needing urgent heart-lung bypass surgery are confronted with a terrible dilemma: whether to postpone surgery or take the small risk of experiencing severe allergic reactions to the contaminated heparin."

"Contaminated Heparin, manufactured in China, recently hit the headlines when it was linked to more than 80 deaths in the United States.

"While it's a relief that the contamination has been discovered and that officials are being open and transparent about the risk to patients, it does pose an invidious and unfair choice to patients and the medical profession."

What this shows is the risk of importing unchecked medicines and medical devices from China, Ms Kedgley says.

"Clearly we need more stringent safety checks on imported medicines and medical devices from China."

"Medsafe must develop a strategy to protect New Zealanders from contaminated and counterfeit medicines."


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