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Cutter Laboratories

Cutter Laboratories was a pharmaceutical company located in Berkeley, California.


The Cutter incident

In 1955 Cutter Laboratories was one of several companies licensed by the United States government to produce Salk polio vaccine. In what came to be known as the Cutter Incident, a production error caused some lots of the Cutter vaccine to be tainted with live polio virus.

The Cutter incident was one of the worst pharmaceutical disasters in U.S. history and caused several thousand children to be exposed to live polio virus upon vaccination.[1]

Numbers affected

The mistake resulted in the production of 120,000 doses of polio vaccine that contained live polio virus. Of the children who received the vaccine 40,000 developed abortive poliomyelitis (a form of the disease that does not involve the central nervous system), 56 developed paralytic poliomyelitis and of these 5 children died as a result of polio infection.[2]

Other incidents

In the 1980s Cutter Laboratories produced unsafe blood products to treat hemophilia. The pharmaceutical product, which was produced from blood given by donors all across the US, was contaminated with HIV. These problems were the subject of lawsuits over the next twenty years.[3]


  1. ^ Offit PA. (2005). "The Cutter incident, 50 years later". N. Engl. J. Med. 352 (14): 1411-1412. PMID 15814877.
  2. ^ Nathanson N. and Langmuir AD. (1963). "The cutter incident. poliomyelitis following formaldehyde-inactivated poliovirus vaccination in the United States during the spring of 1955. II. Relationship of poliomyelitis to cutter vaccine". Am. J. Hyg. 1963 Jul;78:29-60 78: 29-60. PMID 14043545.
  3. ^ Waage v Cutter Biological Division of Miles Labs (11/22/96).
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cutter_Laboratories". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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