HEMOPHILIACS face worse drug shortage in years

Thursday, May 17th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Hemophiliacs are facing a severe shortage of a blood-clotting drug because of contamination at one plant and a maintenance shutdown at another.

``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.''

In March, Bayer Corp. discovered bacteria in machinery at its plant in Berkeley, Calif., and severely curtailed production of Kogenate FS. Spokesman Douglas Bell said the situation should return to normal by July.

Kogenate FS accounts for only about 10 percent of the market.

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