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FDA Issues Statement On Baxter Recall Of Colleague Infusion Pumps

FDA has sent a letter to Baxter Healthcare ordering the company to recall and destroy all of its Colleague Volumetric Infusion Pumps (Colleague pumps) currently in use in the US. The action is based on a longstanding failure to correct many serious problems with the pumps. The FDA believes there may be as many as 200,000 of those pumps currently in use.

The FDA is ordering Baxter to reimburse customers for the value of the recalled Colleague Volumetric Infusion Pumps and assist in finding a replacement for the customers.

Infusion pumps are devices that deliver fluids, including nutrients and medications, into a patient’s body in a controlled manner. They are widely used in hospitals, other clinical settings and, increasingly, in the home because they allow a greater level of accuracy in fluid delivery.

The FDA has been working with Baxter since 1999 to correct numerous device flaws. Since then, Colleague pumps have been the subject of several Class I recalls for battery swelling, inadvertent power off, service data errors, and other issues.

Reportedly, in June 2006, the FDA had obtained a consent decree of permanent injunction in which Baxter agreed to stop manufacturing and distributing all models of the Colleague pump until the company corrected manufacturing deficiencies and until devices in use were brought into compliance. Since then, Baxter has made numerous changes to the Colleague pumps but these changes have not corrected the product defect leading to the permanent injunction.

The 2006 consent decree gave FDA authority to take any action it deemed appropriate. The FDA has determined that this action is necessary, as Baxter has failed to adequately correct, within a reasonable timeframe, the deficiencies in the Colleague infusion pumps still in use.

Infusion pumps, including the Baxter Colleague models, have been the source of persistent safety problems. In the past five years, the FDA has received more than 56,000 reports of adverse events associated with the use of infusion pumps. The events have included serious injuries and more than 500 deaths. Between 2005 and 2009, 87 infusion pump recalls were conducted to address identified safety concerns, according to FDA data.

In response, the FDA had announced a new initiative to address safety problems associated with infusion pumps in the previous month. As part of its initiative, the FDA is moving to establish additional premarket requirements manufacturers will be expected to meet, in part through static testing in FDA’s facilities before device submissions.

The FDA is also holding a May public workshop on infusion pump design, and the agency is raising public awareness of the issue among health care workers and patients.