Reporting from Washington —
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday fined the American Red Cross $16 million, alleging that the organization had been slipshod in the collection and manufacture of blood products. It was the latest in a string of multimillion-dollar penalties for failure to meet blood safety standards.
Despite the most recent violations, there is no indication that patients or the blood supply were endangered, "and the blood supply is believed to be safe," the FDA said in a statement.
The penalties resulted from FDA inspections of a dozen Red Cross facilities across the nation in 2008 and 2009 that identified multiple failures to investigate and correct sloppy processing of blood products and a failure to maintain quality controls.
The FDA said that it was encouraged by recent actions by the Red Cross' leadership to improve blood safety and that it was "hopeful these fines will encourage the Red Cross to act more quickly" to comply with safety regulations.