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Posted by on Feb 26, 2008 in Pharma

More on Heparin Extraction: Zzzzzz

More on Heparin Extraction: Zzzzzz

As a bone-dry counterpoint to the WSJ‘s graphic illustration of the heparin-extraction process in China, the Pathophilia blog is providing a chemically overloaded, non-stomach-turning algorithm (see pdf) for the product’s manufacture. Much of the following information is obtained from that great bathroom-reading text Polymeric Materials Encyclopedia by Joseph C. Salamone, which is conveniently available through Google Books (so you can take your laptop with you into the toilet).


Notably 40,000 kg of pig intestines creates only 5 kg of heparin. The Pathophilia blog has conjectured that the adverse reactions to Baxter’s heparin were likely due to unacceptably high levels of endotoxin, as a result of inadequate depyrogenation (the penultimate step of heparin purification). 

*For you chem geeks and wannabes, quaternary ammonium salts include cetyltrimethylpyridinium chloride, cetyltrimethlammonium bromide, and Hyamine.

Ion-exchange resins include Dowex, ECTEOLA-cellulose, Amberlite IRA-904, and DEAE-Sephadex.

bmartin (1130 Posts)

A native East Tennessean, Barbara Martin is a formerly practicing, board-certified neurologist who received her BS (psychology, summa cum laude) and MD from Duke University before completing her postgraduate training (internship, residency, fellowship) at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She has worked in academia, private practice, medical publishing, drug market research, and continuing medical education (CME). For the last 3 years, she has worked in a freelance capacity as a medical writer, analyst, and consultant. Follow Dr. Barbara Martin on and Twitter.