Pork producer Smithfield's China deal spurs heparin heart drug safety concerns
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US lawmakers are concerned a Chinese company's planned US$4.7 billion (S$6 billion) acquisition of pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc could affect the safety and availability of heparin, a blood-thinner widely used in heart surgery and kidney dialysis that is derived from pig intestines.
Members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce wrote to Smithfield on July 24 asking the company to turn over information on its production of crude heparin, the raw ingredient used to make the drug.
As well as being the world's largest pork producer, with more than 46,000 employees in 25 US states and four countries, Smithfield is also a major supplier of crude heparin.
In a letter to Smithfield's Chief Executive Larry Pope, six Republican committee members said the proposed acquisition of Smithfield by Shuanghui International Holdings "raises questions related to the safety and adequacy of the US heparin supply."