Hemophiliacs Face Drug Shortage

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Thursday May 17, 2:09 pm Eastern Time Hemophiliacs Face Drug Shortage

Hemophiliacs Face Worst Drug Shortage in Years Because of Plant's Manufacturing Problems NEW YORK (AP) -- Hemophiliacs are facing the worst drug shortage in recent memory because of manufacturing problems at plant owned by Bayer Corp. and routine maintenance at a Baxter International Inc. facility.

``This is the worse shortage I can remember. There is no excess supply anywhere,'' said Mark Skinner, president of the National Hemophilia Foundation. ``People are starting to rethink their treatment regiments.''

Last March, Bayer discovered bacteria in some of the machinery at its plant in Berkeley, Calif., and has had to severely curtail production and distribution of its product, Kogenate FS. Bayer spokesman Douglas Bell could not quantify the reduction but says the situation should normalize by July. Bayer Corp. is based in Pittsburgh, and is a unit of the German company Bayer AG.

Hemophiliacs don't produce enough of the proteins necessary to clot blood. Kogenate FS is genetically engineered version of the protein. Kogenate FS only accounts for about 10 percent of the market.

However, earlier this year Deerfield, Ill.-based Baxter shut down production of one of its plants to perform routine maintenance. Baxter makes a competing product called Recombinate.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), May 18, 2001

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