A Blood Substitute Gets Bloodied
NOT SO FAST: BAXTER INTERNATIONAL ENDED A LATE-STAGE PATIENT TRIAL in the U.S. of its HemAssist blood substitute when it discovered that trauma patients given the product in the hospital were dying at a rate greater than a control group and even higher than normal mortality rates. But Baxter believes the product can still work when administered to patients earlier in their treatment. So it is continuing trials in Europe on trauma patients who would be given HemAssist in the ambulance following a major car accident or gunshot wound, and in the U.S. on patients undergoing elective surgery. Officials expect to have HemAssist on the market by late 1999 or early 2000. Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Kenneth Abramowitz figures that the market may now be 25% smaller than the $2 billion to $4 billion he had expected.